School of Life Sciences

Spencer Lab

Welcome to the Spencer group website.
Professor of Bioorganic Chemistry.


New Research Fellow ad:

Our new RISE network is now starting on lysosomal storage disorders:


New EPSRC grant just awarded!


 EU grant with Southampton, Caen, Rouen:


 Invited talk at SCI meeting:



New papers in 2017:

1. Transition Metal Catalyzed Hetero Element-Element’ Additions to Alkynes. Ansell, M. B.*; Navarro, O.*; Spencer, J.* Coord. Chem. Rev. 2017, 36, 54-77.


2. A Ruthenium Anticancer Compound Interacts with Histones and Impacts Differently on Epigenetic and Death Pathways Compared to Cisplatin. Licona, C., Spaety M.-E.,, Capuozzo, A., Ali, M.,; Rita, S..; Armat, O..; Delalande, F; Van Dorsselaer, A., Sarah C., Spencer,  J., Pfeffer M., Mellitzer G., Gaiddon C. Oncotarget, 2017,8 (2), 2568-2584.


 3. Therapeutic Potential of Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase, Monoacylglycerol Lipase, and N-Acylethanolamine Acid Amidase Inhibitors. Tuo, W.; Leleu-Chavain, N.; Spencer, J.; Sansook, S.; Millet, R.;  Chavatte, P. J. Med. Chem. 2017, 60, 4−46.

4. Rationalization of the Mechanism of in situ Pd(0) Formation for Cross-Coupling Reactions from Novel Unsymmetrical Pincer Palladacycles Using DFT Calculations. Boonseng, S.; Roffe, G. W.; Targema; M.;  Cox, H.; Spencer, J. J. Organomet. Chem. 2017, 845, 71-81.

5.  Khan, R.;  Boonseng, S.;  Kemmitt, P.; Felix, R.; Coles, S. J.; Tizzard, G. J.; Williams, G;  Simmonds, O., Harvey, J.-L.; Atack, J.; Cox, H.; Spencer, J.; Combining Sanford Arylations on Benzodiazepines with the Nuisance Effect. Adv. Synth. Catal. 2017,  359, 3261-3269.

 6. Khan, R.; Marsh, G.; Felix, R.; Kemmitt, P. D.; Baud, M. G. J.; Ciulli, A.;  Spencer, J.* Gram Scale Laboratory Synthesis of TC AC 28, a High Affinity BET Bromodomain Ligand. ACS Omega, 20172 (8), pp 4328–4332.


7. Lineham, Ella, Spencer, John and Morley, Simon   (2017) Dual abrogation of Mnk and mTOR; a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of aggressive cancers.    Future Medicinal Chemistry.        (Accepted).

8. Pojamide: An HDAC3-Selective Ferrocene Analogue with Remarkably Enhanced Redox-Triggered Ferrocenium Activity in Cells. Cory A. Ocasio, Supojjanee Sansook, Rhiannon Jones, Justin M. Roberts, Thomas G. Scott, Nikolaos Tsoureas, Peter Coxhead, Matthew Guille, Graham J. Tizzard, Simon J. Coles, Helfrid Hochegger, James E. Bradner and John Spencer. Organometallics 2017, 36, 3276–3283.



9.  N1-Arylation of 1,4-Benzodiazepines with Diaryliodonium Salts. Khan, R.; Felix, R.; Kemmitt, P. D.; Coles, Simon J.; Tizzard, G. J.; Spencer, J.*  Synlett. 2017, accepted.


10. Synthesis of Kinase Inhibitors Containing a Pentafluorosulfanyl Moiety. Sansook, S.;  Ocasio, C. A.; Tizzard, G. J.; Coles, S. J.; Fedorov, O.; Bennett, J. M; Elkins, J.; Spencer, J.* Org. Biomol. Chem. 2017, 15, 8655- 8660 .



2016 papers

17. Synthesis of Functionalized Hydrazines: Facile Homogenous (N-Heterocyclic Carbene)-Pd(0) Catalyzed Diboration and Silaboration of Azobenzenes. Ansell, M. B.;  Kostakis, G. E.;  Braunschweig, H.*; Navarro,O.*; Spencer, J. * Adv. Synth. Catal. 2016, 358, 3765 –3769.

A most accessed paper of 11/2016:

16. Ocasio, Tony, Rajasekaran, Mohan, Walker, Sarah, Le Grand, Darren, Spencer, John, Pearl, Frances, Ward, Simon, Savic, Velibor, Pearl, Laurence, Hochegger, Helfrid and Oliver, Antony (2016) A first generation inhibitor of human Greatwall kinase, enabled by structural and functional characterisation of a minimal kinase domain construct. Oncotarget 2016, 7, 71182-71197.


 gwl paper [PDF 6.98MB]

15. Boonseng, Sarote, Roffe, Gavin W, Jones, Rhiannon N, Tizzard, Graham J, Coles, Simon J, Spencer, John and Cox, Hazel (2016) The trans influence in unsymmetrical pincer palladacycles: an experimental and computational study. Inorganics, 4 (25). pp. 1-14. ISSN 2304-6740

 inorgs [PDF 726.38KB]

14. Librizzi, Mariangela, Spencer, John and Luparello, Claudio (2016) Biological effect of a hybrid anticancer agent based on kinase and histone deacetylase inhibitors on triple-negative (MDA-MB231) breast cancer cells. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17 (8). p. 1235. ISSN 1422-0067

 hybrid [PDF 1.48MB]

13. Close, Adam J, Kemmitt, Paul, Roe, S Mark and Spencer, John (2016) Regioselective routes to orthogonally-substituted aromatic MIDA boronates. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 14 (28). pp. 6751-6756. ISSN 1477-0520


12. Close, Adam J, Jones, Rhiannon N, Ocasio, Cory A, Kemmitt, Paul, Roe, S Mark and Spencer, John (2016) Elaboration of tetra-orthogonally-substituted aromatic scaffolds towards novel EGFR-kinase inhibitors. Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 14. pp. 8246-8252. ISSN 1477-0520


obc [PDF 2.06MB]


11. Bauer, Matthias R, Jones, Rhiannon N, Baud, Matthias G J, Wilcken, Rainer, Boeckler, Frank M, Fersht, Alan, Joerger, Andreas C and Spencer, John (2016) Harnessing fluorine-sulfur contacts and multipolar interactions for the design of p53 mutant Y220C rescue drugs. ACS Chemical Biology, 11 (8). pp. 2265-2274. ISSN 1554-8929

 acs chem biol [PDF 2.71MB]



10. Roffe, Gavin, Tizzard, Graham J, Coles, Simon J, Cox, Hazel and Spencer, John (2016) Synthesis of unsymmetrical NCN′ and PCN pincer palladacycles and their catalytic evaluation compared with a related SCN pincer palladacycle. Organic Chemistry Frontiers, 3. pp. 957-965. ISSN 2052-4110


9. Tuschl, Karin, Meyer, Esther, Valdivia, Leonardo E, Zhao, Ningning, Dadswell, Chris, Abdul-Sada, Alaa, Hung, Christina Y, Simpson, Michael A, Chong, W K, Jacques, Thomas S, Woltjer, Randy L, Eaton, Simon, Gregory, Allison, Sanford, Lynn, Kara, Eleanna, Houlden, Henry, Cuno, Stephan M, Prokisch, Holger, Valletta, Lorella, Tiranti, Valeria, Younis, Rasha, Maher, Eamonn R, Spencer, John, Straatman-Iwanowska, Ania, Gissen, Paul, Selim, Laila A M, Pintos-Morell, Guillem, Coroleu-Lletget, Wifredo, Mohammad, Shekeeb S, Yoganathan, Sangeetha, Dale, Russell C, Thomas, Maya, Rihel, Jason, Bodamer, Olaf A, Enns, Caroline A, Hayflick, Susan J, Clayton, Peter T, Mills, Philippa B, Kurian, Manju A and Wilson, Stephen W (2016) Mutations in SLC39A14 disrupt manganese homeostasis and cause childhood-onset parkinsonism–dystonia. Nature Communications, 7. p. 11601. ISSN 2041-1723

 natc [PDF 3.79MB]

8. Spencer, John (2016) [Review] Stefan Bräse (2015) Privileged scaffolds in medicinal chemistry: design, synthesis, evaluation. ChemMedChem, 11 (10). p. 1107. ISSN 1860-7179


7. Roffe, Gavin W, Boonseng, Sarote, Baltus, Christine B, Coles, Simon J, Day, Iain, Jones, Rhiannon N, Press, Neil J, Ruiz, Mario, Tizzard, Graham J, Cox, Hazel and Spencer, John (2016) A synthetic, catalytic and theoretical investigation of an unsymmetrical SCN pincer palladacycle. Royal Society Open Science, 3 (4). p. 150656. ISSN 2054-5703