Dr Ivanhoe Leung
MChem, DPhil (Oxf)
Dr Ivanhoe Leung attained his undergraduate and doctorate degrees in Chemistry at the University of Oxford, as a member of St Peter’s College. His DPhil was completed in the laboratories of Profs Christopher J. Schofield FRS and Timothy D. W. Claridge, where he applied NMR spectroscopy to study oxygenase enzymes. After his DPhil he spent a further two years in the same groups as a postdoctoral research assistant. Ivan joined the University of Auckland in September 2014, where he is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Chemical Sciences, and co-Deputy Director of the Centre for Green Chemical Science.
For more information about Ivan and his research team, please visit his research group website.
Research | Current
The research of the Leung Research Group lies broadly at the interface between chemistry and biology. We aim to utilise our knowledge in protein structure and enzyme mechanism to help solve some of the world’s most urgent challenges. Our research is multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, enzymology, molecular biology and structural biology. We collaborate closely with a number of research groups from the Schools of Chemical and Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, as well as colleagues in New Zealand and overseas.
Theme 1: Understanding disease mechanisms
Genetic disorders are associated with many serious and debilitating diseases. Our work aims to understand how genetic mutations may influence the structure and function of proteins and enzymes, establishing the relationship between molecular dysfunctions/dysregulations and the diseases that these mutations may cause.
● Nat. Commun. 2019, 10. 4639.
● Chem. Commun. 2020, 56, 7857–7860.
Theme 2: Improving treatments and therapies
Infectious disease and antibiotic resistance are some of the biggest health challenges that the world are facing today. Our research tackles the underlying mechanisms that are important for the survival of bacteria, enabling new inhibition targets for the development of new antibiotic agents.
● Drug Discov. Today 2019, 24, 206–216.
Cancer is amongst the leading causes of death worldwide. We study molecular chaperones and DNA repair enzymes with an aim to develop new anti-cancer agents and chemosensitizers to overcome resistance and enhancing the effect of chemotherapy treatments.
● Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2017, 27, 277–281.
● Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 5333.
Theme 3: Improving agriculture to feed the world
Despite soaring food cost and the growing world population, millions of tonnes of fresh produce are thrown out every year. We target plant enzymes with an aim to develop new chemical agents to regulate and control the ripening and browning processes of fruits and vegetables in order to reduce unnecessary waste of fresh produce.
● ChemistrySelect 2017, 2, 10435–10441.
Theme 4: Improving methodologies in biochemical research
Protein-ligand interactions are fundamental to almost all biological processes in living organisms. Our laboratory specialises in the application of biophysical techniques, in particular NMR spectroscopy, to measure and quantify such interactions. We also conduct research to improve methodologies for the production and purification of recombinant proteins.
● Sci. Rep. 2017, 7, 43727.
● Sci. Rep. 2019, 9, 8884.
● IUBMB Life 2020, 72, 266–274.
Teaching | Current
Summer School 2020
● CHEM 100 Molecules that Changed the World
Semester One 2020
● CHEM 350 Topics in Chemistry (Course Coordinator)
● CHEM 360 Contemporary Green Chemistry
● CHEM 390 Medicinal Chemistry
● CHEM 750 Advanced Topics in Chemistry
Semester Two 2020
● CHEM 260 Introduction to Green Chemistry
● CHEM 738 Biomolecular Chemistry (Course Coordinator)
For more detailed information about potential research projects please contact Dr Leung by email. You will have the opportunity to conduct research at the interface between chemistry and biology, and to receive training in molecular biology, enzymology and biophysical chemistry.
● 2019 JSPS HOPE Fellow
● 2019 The University of Auckland Early Career Research Excellence Award
● Scientific Reports, Editorial Board Member
● New Zealand Institute of Chemistry (NZIC) Auckland Branch, Chemical Education Group Representative
● The New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (NZSBMB), Auckland Representative
The University of Auckland
● Centre for Green Chemical Science, Co-Deputy Director
Areas of expertise
● Biological and organic NMR spectroscopy
● Protein-ligand interactions
● Inhibitor discovery
● Mechanistic enzymology
● Recombinant protein production and purification
Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)
- Correddu, D., Sharma, N., Kaur, S., Varnava, K. G., Mbenza, N. M., Sarojini, V., & Leung, I. K. H. (2020). An investigation into the effect of ribosomal protein S15 phosphorylation on its intermolecular interactions by using phosphomimetic mutant. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), 56 (57), 7857-7860. 10.1039/d0cc01618g
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Kyriakos Varnava, Mbenza Mbambi Naasson
- McLarin, M.-A., & Leung, I. K. H. (2020). Substrate specificity of polyphenol oxidase. Critical reviews in biochemistry and molecular biology, 55 (3), 274-308. 10.1080/10409238.2020.1768209
- Pilkington, L. I., Sparrow, K., Rees, S. W. P., Paulin, E. K., van Rensburg, M., Xu, C. S., ... Leung, E. (2020). Development, synthesis and biological investigation of a novel class of potent PC-PLC inhibitors. European journal of medicinal chemistry, 19110.1016/j.ejmech.2020.112162
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lisa Pilkington, Shaun Rees, Emily Paulin, Ries Langley, Euphemia Leung, David Barker
- Eurtivong, C., Pilkington, L. I., van Rensburg, M., White, R. M., Brar, H. K., Rees, S., ... Leung, I. K. H. (2020). Discovery of novel phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C drug-like inhibitors as potential anticancer agents. European journal of medicinal chemistry, 18710.1016/j.ejmech.2019.111919
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lisa Pilkington, Euphemia Leung, David Barker, Shaun Rees, Emily Paulin
- Correddu, D., Montaño López JDJ, Angermayr, S. A., Middleditch, M. J., Payne, L. S., & Leung, I. K. H. (2020). Effect of consecutive rare codons on the recombinant production of human proteins in Escherichia coli. IUBMB life, 72 (2), 266-274. 10.1002/iub.2162
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Martin Middleditch
- Mohan, A., Hadi, J., Gutierrez-Maddox, N., Li, Y., Leung, I. K. H., Gao, Y., ... Quek, S.-Y. (2020). Sensory, Microbiological and Physicochemical Characterisation of Functional Manuka Honey Yogurts Containing Probiotic Lactobacillus reuteri DPC16. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 9 (1).10.3390/foods9010106
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Siew-Young Quek, Anand Mohan
- Khomenko, T. M., Zakharenko, A. L., Chepanova, A. A., Ilina, E. S., Zakharova, O. D., Kaledin, V. I., ... Reynisson, J. (2019). Promising New Inhibitors of Tyrosyl-DNA Phosphodiesterase I (Tdp 1) Combining 4-Arylcoumarin and Monoterpenoid Moieties as Components of Complex Antitumor Therapy. International journal of molecular sciences, 21 (1).10.3390/ijms21010126
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Daniel Ayine-Tora, Jinal Patel
- Mak, O. W., Chand, R., Reynisson, J., & Leung, I. K. H. (2019). Identification of Isoform-Selective Ligands for the Middle Domain of Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90). International journal of molecular sciences, 20 (21).10.3390/ijms20215333
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Raina Chand