Dr Finian Leeper
Dr Finian Leeper is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.
My interest lies in applying Organic Synthesis to Biological Problems. Current projects include (a) biosynthesis of prodigiosin - prodigiosin has potent antitumour and immunosuppressive properties and a close relative obatoclax is in clinical trials for multiple cancers. (b) synthesis of thiamin diphosphate (TPP) analogues for inhibition, mechanistic and crystallographic studies on TPP-dependent enzymes. Transketolase is a TPP-dependent enzyme that has been proposed as a target for anti-cancer drugs. (c) synthesis of analogues of porphobilinogen which would be inhibitors of tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. (d) new methods for the synthesis of radiotracers for PET imaging. Have also had a project on synthesis of contrast agents for MRI.
Synthetic Chemistry Enzyme Assays
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Erixon KM, Dabalos CL, Leeper FJ (2007), Inhibition of pyruvate decarboxylase from Z. mobilis by novel analogues of thiamine pyrophosphate: investigating pyrophosphate mimics, Chem. Commun.: 960-962. Williamson NR, Simonsen HT, Ahmed RAA, Goldet G, Slater H, Woodley L, Leeper FJ, Salmond GPC (2005), Biosynthesis of the red antibiotic, prodigiosin, in Serratia: identification of a novel 2-methyl-3-n-amyl-pyrrole (MAP) assembly pathway, definition of the terminal condensing enzyme, and implications for undecylprodigiosin biosynthesis in Streptomyces, Molec. Microbiology, 56(4): 971-989. Goodwin CE, Leeper FJ (2003), Stereochemistry and mechanism of the conversion of 5-aminolaevulinic acid into porphobilinogen catalysed by porphobilinogen synthase, Org. Biomolec. Chem., 1: 1443-1446.