Dr Churchill obtained a Bachelors degree in Agriculture and a Masters degree in Crop Science from the University of Saskatchewan. His Masters research on structure-activity relationships for the plant hormone abscisic acid generated his interest in small molecule synthesis and how chemistry can be used to probe biological function. He then switched fields and obtained a PhD in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology from the University of Minnesota.
His PhD research focused on calcium regulation in the lens of the eye. Then, with combined interests in chemistry and calcium signalling, he came to Oxford to join Professor Antony Galione’s group as a postdoctoral research associate. Subsequently, he was awarded the Todd-Bird Junior Research Fellowship at New College, Oxford. His investigations at Oxford into pyridinerelated compounds that release calcium from internal stores have been, and continue to be, the focus of his research. Dr Churchill utilizes the synthesis of small molecules to provide unique tools to investigate biological questions. Not only are these compounds useful for understanding physiology but also may ultimately provide new lead compounds for drugs.