Robert Charles Hider (born 1943, London) is a Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at King’s College London. He is a specialist in therapeutic iron chelators.


After education at Winslade School, Exeter he attended King’s College London as a BSc Chemistry and Physics undergraduate (1961 – 64), and then obtained a Ph.D. there in Synthetic Chemistry (1967).

Academic career

Hider began a career in biological chemistry in the Endocrinology Department of St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School under the supervision of David London. He studied the influence of insulin on muscle protein synthesis. In 1970 he was appointed as the first lecturer in biological chemistry at Essex University and initiated the biological chemistry degree. During this period his research was directed towards the study of membranes [1], the mechanisms of penetration of such structures [2], and their mode of interaction with animal toxins [3,4]. In 1977 he was awarded sabbatical leave and worked with Joe Neilands, in the Department of Biochemistry, the University of California, Berkeley. This laboratory was centered on siderophore chemistry and biochemistry. Siderophore chemistry has been a driving force throughout his career [5].

On return to the UK, Hider, in collaboration with Ernest Huehns, developed the first orally active iron chelator, deferiprone [6-8], which was introduced into clinical trials by Victor Hoffbrand in 1987 [9]. During this decade he was promoted to senior lecturer and then to reader. Deferiprone is currently used worldwide for the treatment of transfusion-induced iron overload, which is associated with β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia [9].

In 1987 Hider was appointed Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Pharmacy Department of King’s College London, where he continued his studies on iron biochemistry. Over the period 1987 – 2015, he introduced several analytical methods for “non-transferrin bound iron” [10,11] and has continued to develop new iron chelators [12,13], particularly those targeted to mitochondria [14,15]. He has collaborated with Ciba Geigy (now Novartis), Apotex, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Vifor and Renapharma.

During the 1992 – 2008 period at King’s College he was at various times Head of the Health Science Division (1992 – 1994); Head of the School of Life, Basic Medicinal and Health Sciences (1994 – 2000); Head of Department of Pharmacy (2000 – 2003) and Head of the School of Biomedical and Health Sciences (2003 – 2007). In 2008, he retired from teaching and administration duties but maintains an active research laboratory.

Selected Publications

His most cited articles are:

Hider RC, Kong X. Chemistry and biology of siderophores. Natural product reports. 2010;27(5):637-57.

Shayeghi M, Latunde-Dada GO, Oakhill JS, Laftah AH, Takeuchi K, Halliday N, Khan Y, Warley A, McCann FE, Hider RC, Frazer DM. Identification of an intestinal heme transporter. Cell. 2005;122(5):789-801.

Hider RC. Siderophore mediated absorption of iron. In Siderophores from Microorganisms and Plants. 1984 (pp. 25-87). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.


Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, 1987

Science Chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, 1998

Fellow of King’s College London, 1999

Academic Lead of Department of Trade and Industry Delegation visiting China, 2000

Hanbury Memorial Medal, 2014; from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society [16]

Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, 2015 – present

Paul Ehrlich Award, 2017; from the International Bio-Iron Society [17]

Honorary Professor at the University of Bath, UK, 2019 – present


  1. Bunce AS and Hider RC. The composition of black lipid membranes formed from egg-yolk lecithin, cholesterol, and n-decane. Biochinica Biophyscia Acta., 1974; 363, 423-427.
  2. Ash PS, Bunce AS, Dawson CR, and Hider RC. The effect of synthetic polymers on the electrical and permeability properties of lipid membranes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta., 1978; 510, 216-229.
  3. Dawson CR, Drake AF, Helliwell J and Hider RC. The interaction of bee melittin with lipid bilayer membranes. Biochim. Biophys. Acta., 1978; 510, 75-86.
  4. Hider RC, Drake AF, Inagaki F, Williams RJP, Endo T and Miyatawa T. The molecular conformation of α-cobratoxin as studied by nuclear magnetic resonance and circular dichroism. J. Mol. Boil., 1982; 158, 275-291.
  5. Hider RC, Kong X. Chemistry and biology of siderophores. Nat. Prod. Rep., 2010; 27, 637-657.
  6. Huehns ER, Porter JB and Hider RC. Selection of hydroxypyridin-4-ones for the treatment of iron overload using in vitro and in vivo models. Haemoglobin, 1988; 12, 593-600.
  7. Porter JB, Gyparaki M, Burke LC, Huehns ER, Sarpong P, Saez V and Hider RC. Iron mobilization from hepacyte monolayer cultures by chelators: The importance of membrane permeability and iron binding constant. Blood, 1988; 72, 1497-1505.
  8. Porter JB, Huehns ER and Hider RC. The development of iron chelating drugs. Ballieres Clinical Haematology, (ed. C Hershco), 1989; 257-292.
  9. Hider RC, Hoffbrand AV. The role of deferiprone in iron chelation. New England J. Medicine, 2018; 379, 2140-50.
  10. Singh S, Hider RC, and Porter JB. A direct method for quantification of non-transferrin bound iorn. Anal. Biochem., 1990; 186, 320-323.
  11. Ma YM, Podinovskaia M, Evans PJ, Emma G, Schaible UE, Porter J, Hider RC. A novel method for non-transferrin-bound iron quantification by chelatable fluorescent beads based on flow cytometry. Biochemical Journal, 2014; 463, 351-362.
  12. Dobbin PS, Hider RC, Hall AD, Taylor PD, Sarpong P, Porter JB, Xiao G and van der Helm D. Synthesis, physicochemical properties, and biological evaluation of N-substituted 2-alkyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-pyridinones: orally active iron chelators with clinical potential. J. Med. Chem., 1993; 36, 2448-2458.
  13. Chen W, Yuan X, Li Z, Lu Z, Kong S, Jiang H, Du H, Pan X, Nandi M, Kong X, Brown K, Liu Z, Zhang G, Hider RC, Yu Y. CN128: A new orally active hydroxypyridinone iron chelator. J. Med. Chem., 2000; 63, 4215-4226.
  14. Abbate V, Reelfs O, Hider RC, Pourzand C. Design of novel fluorescent mitochondria-targeted peptides with iron-selective sensing activity. Biochemical Journal., 2015; 469, 357-366.
  15. Reelfs O, Abbate V, Hider RC, Pourzand C. A powerful mitochondria-targeted iron chelator affords high photoprotection against solar ultraviolet A radiation. J. Investigate Dermatology, 2016; 136, 1692-1700.
  16. “Professor Robert Hider wins the Hanbury Memorial Award”. Royal Pharmaceutical Society.
  17. “Professor Robert Hider receives the Paul Ehrlich Award”. King’s College London.