My research is in the field of organic chemistry, and I work in the Organic Research Grouping in theSchool of Chemistry.
I am interested in the synthesis of biologically active compounds, and in the development of new synthetic methods.
We have developed a new and general method for the synthesis of phosphinic acids, using a reactive silylated intermediate, which is being applied to the synthesis of analogues of biologically active phosphate diesters, such as certain hormones (e.g. cyclic AMP and platelet activating factor) and anti-cancer compounds (e.g. miltefosine and edelfosine), in order to prolong their biological activity.
Other complex biologically active targets include simplified analogues of macrocyclic antibiotics (e.g. erythromycin and rhizoxin), designed to explore the structural requirements for activity.
The unusual alkaloid epibatidine, which is found in very small quantities on the skin of a South American tree frog, and which has potent morphine-like analgesic activity, has been synthesised, and asymmetric variants and syntheses of analogues have been developed.
Biologically active tetronic acids have been prepared using an enzymic method for the key asymmetric step, and also by using a chiral auxiliary.