Professor Jonathan Essex's research involves the application and development of computer simulation methodology to the study of organic and biological molecules, with particular emphasis on the examination of molecular association. Computer simulations are particularly important in the context of modern chemical research for a number of reasons. Their ultimate objective is clearly to make predictions, but performing a successful simulation that reproduces experimental observations also confirms and validates the underlying physical assumptions of the simulation model. Simulations also offer the ability to understand experimental observations with a resolution that, depending on the model, may be at the atomistic level. This in turn may then inspire further experiments. Computer modelling is widely used not only in the academic context, but also in industry. This is particularly the case for the pharmaceutical and agrochemical sectors, where modelling is used to assist in the discovery of new active chemical agents.
Professor Jonathan Essex's research is predominantly directed towards the development of new theoretical approaches to simulating biological systems. Methodology development is particularly challenging, time-consuming, and risky, but despite this, he has made a number of important contributions, particularly in the area of protein-ligand free energy calculations. His research programme covers a wide-range of applications. In practice, however, the areas are interrelated and mutually supporting.
Further information can be found at https://www.southampton.ac.uk/chemistry/jessex/