Following her undergraduate degree at the University of London, Chris moved to the University of Sussex for her D. Phil and then to the University of Bristol as a Research Fellow with Professor Jake MacMillan FRS, working as part of an interdisciplinary team to understand the role of gibberellins in plant growth and development. This sowed the seeds for her lifelong interest in natural products. She was appointed to a Lectureship in Organic Chemistry at the University of Bristol in 1990 and promoted to Professor in 2000. Since 2013 she has been Head of Organic and Biological Chemistry in Bristol.
Research in her group centres on natural products from fungi and bacteria which are rich sources of compounds of medicinal and agrochemical value. With the widespread problem of increasing antimicrobial resistance, there is an urgent need for the discovery and development of new-cost effective ways to combat infections. By combining organic synthesis with synthetic biology, Chris and her collaborators are generating new biologically active compounds with a focus on new antibiotics and agrochemical agents. In addition, new biocatalysts are being developed for the clean and efficient synthesis of bioactive targets.
She has made major contributions to the wider community including the organisation of many international conferences, committees of the International Isotope Society and the Royal Society of Chemistry including Chairman of the RSC Heterocyclic and Synthesis Group and is currently an elected member of RSC Organic Division Council.
Outside work, Chris enjoys music, gardening and sport and plays table tennis regularly in the local league.