John Vederas, BSc, PhD, FRSC, FRS

University Professor, Faculty of Science - Chemistry


University Professor, Faculty of Science - Chemistry
(780) 492-5475
W5-39A Chemistry Centre - West
11227 Saskatchewan Drive NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2G2



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

John Vederas is the author of over 350 research publications, 4 books and 24 issued patents. Thus far he has had 67 Ph.D. students, 9 M.Sc. students, >70 postdoctoral fellows and >70 undergraduates complete research in his group. His current group is 10 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).


CHEM 261 - Organic Chemistry I

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.

Fall Term 2021

Browse more courses taught by John Vederas


PEG-extended apelin-17 analogues as cardioprotective drug leads: importance of the KFRR motif and aromatic head group for improved physiological activity
Author(s): Fischer, C.; Lamer, T.; Fernandez, K.; Gheblawi, M.; Wang, W.; Pascoe, C.; Lambkin, G.; Iturrioz, X.l; Llorens-Cortes, C.; Oudit, G.Y.; Vederas, J.C.
Publication Date: 10/1/2020
Publication: J. Med. Chem.
Volume: 63
Page Numbers: 12073−12082
External Link:
Feline coronavirus drug inhibits the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 and blocks virus replication
Author(s): Vuong, W.; Khan, M.B; Fischer, C.; Arutyunova, E.; Lamer, T.; Shields, J.; Saffran, H.A.; McKay, R.T.; van Belkum, M.J.; Joyce, M.; Young, H.S.; Tyrrell, D.L.; Vederas, J.C.; Lemieux, M.J.
Publication Date: 5/4/2020
Publication: Nature Comm.
Volume: 11
Issue: 4282
Page Numbers: 1-8
External Link:
Unveiling the active isomer of cycloalanopine, a cyclic opine from Lactobacillus rhamnosus LS8, through synthesis and analog production
Author(s): Antwi, I.; Chiorean, S.; van Belkum, M.J.; Vederas, J.C
Publication Date: 3/23/2020
Publication: RSC Med. Chem.
Volume: 11
Page Numbers: 528-531
External Link:!divAbstract
Synthesis of Chiral Spin-Labeled Amino Acids
Author(s): Vuong, W.; Mosquera-Guagua, F.; Sanichar, R.; McDonald, T.R.; Ernst, O.P.; Wang, L.; Vederas, J.C.
Publication Date: 12/10/2019
Publication: Org. Lett.
Volume: 21
Page Numbers: 10149−10153
External Link:
Catalytic Mechanism and Properties of Pyridoxal 5’-Phosphate Independent Racemases: How Enzymes Alter Mismatched Acidity and Basicity
Author(s): Fischer, C.; Ahn, Y.-C.; Vederas, J.C
Publication Date: 4/17/2019
Publication: Nat. Prod. Rep.
Volume: 36
Page Numbers: 1697-1705
External Link:!divAbstract
The expanding structural variety among bacteriocins from Gram-positive bacteria
Author(s): Jeella Z. Acedo, Sorina Chiorean, John C. Vederas, Marco J. van Belkum
Publication Date: 8/1/2018
Publication: FEMS Microbiol. Rev.
Volume: 42
Page Numbers: 805–828
External Link:
Insights into the Mechanism of Action of the Two-Peptide Lantibiotic Lacticin 3147
Author(s): Alireza Bakhtiary, Stephen A. Cochrane, Pascal Mercier, Ryan T. McKay, Mark Miskolzie, Clarissa S. Sit, C.S., John C. Vederas
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: J. Am. Chem. Soc.
Volume: 139
Page Numbers: 17803−17810
External Link:
Production of new cladosporin analogues by reconstitution of the polyketide synthases responsible for the biosynthesis of this antimalarial agent.
Author(s): Rachel V. K. Cochrane, Randy Sanichar, Gareth R. Lambkin, Bela Reiz, Wei Xu, Yi Tang, John C. Vederas
Publication Date: 10/11/2016
Publication: Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Volume: 55
Page Numbers: 664-668
External Link:
The Antimicrobial Lipopeptide Tridecaptin A Selectively Binds to Gram-Negative Lipid II
Author(s): Stephen A. Cochrane, Brandon Findlay, Alireza Bakhtiary, Jeella Z. Acedo, Eva M. Rodriguez-Lopez, Pascal Mercier, P., John C. Vederas
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA
Volume: 113
Page Numbers: 11561-11566
External Link: