School of Life Sciences

Spencer Lab

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


 Well done Gavin and Adam on passing your PhD vivas with minor corrections!


latest papers are out! Selected 2016 papers:

  1. A First Generation Inhibitor of Human Greatwall Kinase, Enabled by Structural and Functional Characterisation of a Minimal Kinase Domain Construct Ocasio, C. A.*, Rajasekaran, M. B.*; Walker, S.; Le Grand, D.; Spencer, J.; Pearl, F. M. G. Ward, S. E.; Savic, V.; Pearl, L. H.; Hochegger, H.  and Oliver, A.W., Oncotarget, 2016, in press.
  2. An Experimental and Theoretical Study into the Facile, Homogenous (N-Heterocyclic Carbene)2-Pd(0) Catalyzed Diboration of Internal and Terminal Alkynes. Ansell, M. B.; Menezes da Silva, V. H. H.; Heerdt, G.; Braga, A. A. C.; Spencer, J. and Navarro, O. Catal. Sci. Technol., 2016, DOI: 10.1039/C6CY01266C.
  3. Boonseng, S., Roffe, G. W, Jones, R. N, Tizzard, G. J, Coles, S. J, Spencer, J. and Cox, H. The Trans Influence in Unsymmetrical Pincer Palladacycles: an Experimental and Computational Study. Inorganics, 2016, 4, 1-14.
  4. .Elaboration of Tetra-Orthogonally-Substituted Aromatic Scaffolds Towards Novel EGFR-Kinase Inhibitors: Close, A.J, Jones, R. N, Ocasio, C. A, Kemmitt, P., Roe, S M. and Spencer, J.  Org. Biomol. Chem. 2016, in press.
  5. Biological Effect of a Hybrid Anticancer Agent Based on Kinase and Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors on Triple-Negative (MDA-MB231) Breast C            ancer Cells. Librizzi, M., Spencer, J.,  Luparello. C.  Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(8), 1235; doi:10.3390/ijms17081235.
  6. Harnessing fluorine-sulfur contacts and multipolar interactions for the design of p53 mutant Y220C rescue drugs. Bauer, M. R., Jones, R., Baud, M. G. J., Wilcken, R.; Boeckler,  F. M., Fersht, A. R., Joerger, A. C.*, Spencer, J.* ACS Chem. Biol. 2016, 11, 2265−2274.
  7. 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.      
  8. Spencer, John   (2016) [Review] Stefan Bräse (2015) Privileged scaffolds in medicinal chemistry: design, synthesis, evaluation.    ChemMedChem, 11 (10).     p. 1107.    
  9. 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.    
  10. N-(Heterocyclic Carbene)2‑Pd(0)-Catalyzed Silaboration of Internal and Terminal Alkynes: Scope and Mechanistic Studies. Ansell, M. B.; Spencer, J.* Navarro, O.* ACS Catal. 2016, 6, 2192−2196.
  11. A Poised Fragment Library Enables Rapid Synthetic Expansion Yielding the First Reported Inhibitors of PHIP(2), an Atypical Bromodomain. Cox, O. B., Krojer, T.; Collins, P.; Monteiro, O.; Talon, R.; Bradley, A.; Fedorov, O.;  Amin, J.; Marsden, B. D.; Spencer, J.;  Von Delft, F.*; Brennan, P. E.* Chem. Sci. 2016, 7, 2322-2330.




Congratulations to Poj, who  presented a poster at the 14th Ferrocene colloquium, Konstanz.

We are grateful for a Doctoral Overseas Conference (Sussex) for funding this.


Melvyn Ansell will spend 3 months in the Braunschweig group, Wurzburg, courtesy of a Royal Society of Chemistry Researcher Mobility grant award


Gavin Roffe presented a poster entitled ‘A Synthesis, Catalytic Application, and Theoretical Investigation into N’CN, SCN and PCS Pincer Palladacycles’ at:

Again, thanks to Sussex for a travel award!




 First examples of hits vs PHIP(2), a melanoma target, collaboration with SGC, Oxford.


See also:


 Our 1st paper with LMB from our Worldwide Cancer Research grant now out. Transient Protein States for the Design of Small-Molecule Stabilizers of Mutant p53. Joerger, A.* C.; Bauer, M. R.; Wilcken, R.; Baud, M. G.; Harbrecht, H.; Exner, T. E.; Boeckler, F. M.; Spencer, J.; Fersht, A. R. Structure, 2015, 23, 2246–2255. (IF=5.6).





Group "us"ie; 1-10-14: LHS JS,