This group consists of the “symbiosis” of two academic staffs, Dr Hai Deng (HD) and Dr Laurent Trembleau (LT), who’s focus is situated at the interface of chemistry and biology.
The synthetic microbial biotransformation branch of this group (HD) is interested in the characterization of antimicrobial and antiviral natural product scaffolds, the identification and exploration of novel enzymatic mechanisms, the discovery of biosynthesis pathways using bioinformatics and genetic manipulations, and the development of biosensors. The HD group has expertise in genetics, microbiology, protein overexpression, biotransformation and bioanalytical toolbox development. In addition to support the commercialisation of any discoveries it has established strong links with a range of companies across both the agro-chemical and life sciences industries (e.g. Ingenza and NCIMB Ltd).
The organic synthesis and supramolecular chemistry branch (LT) is engaged in a broad range of research projects. These include work to assist in the preparation of natural and synthetic enzyme substrates and inhibitors, and various bioactive synthetic compounds (aromatics and peptides). A current project involves the total synthesis of a bioactive natural product, funded by the Portuguese company Sea4Us. New projects consist in the total synthesis of bioactive peptide natural products, the use of supramolecular concepts for the development of green protocols for the highly used amidation reaction, or the sustainable transformation of cellulose into surfactants.
Both branches have successfully joined their complementary knowledge and expertise towards the understanding of biosynthetic pathways and enzyme mechanisms. We have been working to develop sustainable methods for applications in industrial biotransformation, and enzyme inhibitors with antibiotic or antiviral properties.