John Vederas, BSc, PhD, FRSC, FRS

Professor, Faculty of Science - Chemistry


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 375 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).


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 264 cannot take CHEM 261 for credit. Engineering students who take this course will receive *4.5.

CHEM 405 - Special Topics in Chemistry

Prerequisites: a 300- level CHEM course and consent of Instructor; prerequisite courses vary, depending on topic. Course may be repeated for credit, provided there is no duplication of specific topic.

CHEM 669 - Special Topics in Bio-organic Chemistry

Advanced discussion of selected topics in modern bio-organic chemistry, drawn from one or more of the following: (1) natural products and secondary metabolism, (2) nucleic acid chemistry, and (3) organic and biophysical carbohydrate chemistry. Other topics appropriate to the category may also be offered. Course may be repeated for credit, provided there is no duplication of specific topic.

Browse more courses taught by John Vederas

Featured Publications

Van Oers, T.J.; Piercey, A.; Belovodskiy, A.; Reiz, B.; Donnelly, B.L; Vuong, W.; Lemieux, M.J.; Nieman, J.A.; Auclair, K.; Vederas, J.C.

Organic Letters. 2023 August; 25 10.1021/acs.orglett.3c02140

Lamer, T. ; Vederas, J.C.

BMC Biotechnology . 2023 July; 23 10.1186/s12896-023-00779-5

Pascoe, C.A.; Engelhardt, D.B.; Rosana, A.R.R.; van Belkum, M.J.; Vederas, J.C.

Organic Lettrs. 2021 November; 23

Hsiao, Y-.T.; Beadle, J.; Pascoe, C.; Annadate, R.; Vederas, J.C.

Organic Letters. 2021 September; 23

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.

J. Med. Chem. . 2020 October; 63

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.

Nature Comm.. 2020 May; 11 (4282):1-8

Fischer, C.; Ahn, Y.-C.; Vederas, J.C

Nat. Prod. Rep.. 2019 April; 36

Jeella Z. Acedo, Sorina Chiorean, John C. Vederas, Marco J. van Belkum

FEMS Microbiol. Rev.. 2018 August; 42

Alireza Bakhtiary, Stephen A. Cochrane, Pascal Mercier, Ryan T. McKay, Mark Miskolzie, Clarissa S. Sit, C.S., John C. Vederas

J. Am. Chem. Soc.. 2017 January; 139

Rachel V. K. Cochrane, Randy Sanichar, Gareth R. Lambkin, Bela Reiz, Wei Xu, Yi Tang, John C. Vederas

Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 2016 October; 55