School of Life Sciences

Spencer Lab

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


 Melvyn's Angew work is published as a research highlight (p27):




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

Melvyn wins EPSRC award  to go to Manchester:


New papers in 2017:

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


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.


 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.

Latest 2016 papers are out :


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

open sci [PDF 1.65MB]

6. Ansell, Melvyn B, Spencer, John and Navarro Fernandez, Oscar (2016) (N-heterocyclic carbene)2-Pd(0) catalyzed silaboration of internal and terminal alkynes: scope and mechanistic studies. ACS Catalysis, 6 (4). pp. 2192-2196. ISSN 2155-5435