John Vederas, BSc, PhD, FRSC, FRS
B.Sc. Chemistry - Stanford University
Ph.D. Organic Chemistry - Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Prof. George H. Büchi
Postdoctoral Fellow - Institut für Organische Chemie - Universität Basel - Prof. Christoph Tamm
Postdoctoral Fellow - Dept. Medicinal Chemistry - Purdue University - Prof. Heinz G. Floss
Elected Fellow Royal Society of Canada - 1997
Chemical Institute of Canada Medal - 2008
Elected Fellow Royal Society (FRS, London) - 2009
Elected Member American Academy of Microbiology - 2014
Senior Fellow Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (Molecular Architecture of Life) - 2016
For list of additional awards and appointments, please see http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~vederas/appointments.html
John Vederas is the author of over 350 research publications, 4 books and 24 issued patents. Thus far he has had 71 Ph.D. students, 9 M.Sc. students, >70 postdoctoral fellows and >70 undergraduates complete research in his group. His current group is 9 Ph.D. students and 2 postdoctoral fellows.
Understanding the chemistry by which Nature assembles biological molecules is not only an exciting intellectual endeavour, but is also a prerequisite to rationally influence life processes in medicine and agriculture. Our research currently centers on the formation of important biological molecules, including antimicrobial peptides, amino acid metabolites, and polyketides. The approach is interdisciplinary. Experimental aspects of our projects encompass organic synthesis and spectroscopic methodology (especially NMR and mass spectrometry), as well as isotopic techniques, natural products isolation, enzymatic reactions, and culturing of microorganisms. Current projects include:
- Investigation of the three dimensional structure, mechanism of action, formation and applications of bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria. These antimicrobial peptides (37-80 amino acids) are non-toxic to mammals, naturally preserve food, and may be useful for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases.
- Examination of the mechanism of polyketide biosynthesis in fungi, especially formation of lovastatin (a widely-prescribed cholesterol-lowering drug) and generation of biologically active macrolides
- Construction of structurally modified neuropeptide hormones and their antagonists to provide improved activity and stability. These compounds influence a host of biological processes including lactation, childbirth, pain, appetite, pigmentation, pheromone biosynthesis and embryonic development.
- Understanding and duplicating the mechanisms of unusual enzymes, especially amino acid epimerases and hydroxylases (e.g. P450 and ketoglutarate dependent oxygenases).
The correlation of structure and chemical bonding in carbon compounds with the physical properties and chemical reactivity of organic molecules. Discussion will be based on functional groups with emphasis on hydrocarbons and derivatives that contain halogens, oxygen, sulfur, and the hydroxy group. Introduction to stereochemistry, three dimensional structure, reaction mechanisms, especially addition to double bonds, nucleophilic substitution and elimination reactions. Prerequisite CHEM 101 or 103. Note: Students who have obtained credit for CHEM 161 or 164 cannot take CHEM 261 for credit. Engineering students who take this course will receive *4.5.