Sustainable synthesis and catalysis

Biologically-active compounds

Test tubes with bright coloured liquid in them

The development of biologically-active compounds to treat, detect, and prevent deadly diseases is of great national and international importance. Biologically-active compounds such as herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides are valuable crop protection products which help sustain food supply chains. This sector alone is estimated to have revenues of >40 billion pounds per year. Given the huge socio-economic importance of biologically-active compounds to human civilisation, new biologically-active compounds are highly sought-after by research programmes spanning academia and the life-science private sector (especially for use as pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and pesticides). 

The University of Leicester has a longstanding tradition of excellence at the chemistry-biology interface, particular in the preparation of biologically-active compounds. Our research efforts within the sustainable synthesis and catalysis section spans preparation of synthetically challenging fluorinated compounds for improved biological efficacy, optimisation of synthetic routes important for the preparation of biologically-active compounds that are hard to source, and the development of metallopharmaceuticals to overcome cancer relapse. Our approach to the development of biologically-active compounds is tailored to provide translational outcomes.

Selected Publications

  • "The discrete breast cancer stem cell mammosphere activity of group 10-bis(azadiphosphine) metal complexes", Z. Xiao, A. Johnson, K. Singh and K. Suntharalingam, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2021, 60, 6704-6709. DOI:10.1002/anie.202014242.
  • "Gallium(III)-polypyridyl complexes as anti-osteosarcoma stem cell agents", P. Robin, K. Singh and K. Suntharalingam, Chem. Commun., 2020, 56, 1509-1512. DOI:10.1039/C9CC08962D.
  • "A triangular platinum(II) multinuclear complex with cytotoxicity towards breast cancer stem cells", A. Eskandari, A. Kundu, S. Ghosh and K. Suntharalingam, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 12059-12064. DOI:10.1002/anie.201905389.
  • "A copper(II)-phenanthroline metallopeptide that targets and disrupts mitochondrial function in breast cancer stem cells", K. Laws, G. Bineva-Todd, A. Eskandari, C. Lu, N. O'Reilly and K. Suntharalingam, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2018, 57, 287-291. DOI:10.1002/anie.201710910.
  • "Breast cancer stem cell potent copper(II)–non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug complexes", N. J. Boodram, I. J. Mcgregor, P. M. Bruno, P. B. Cressey, M. T. Hemann, K. Suntharalingam, Angew. Chemie Int. Ed., 2016, 55, 2845-2850. DOI:10.1002/anie.201510443.


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