Dr Ivanhoe Leung

MChem, DPhil (Oxf)

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Senior Lecturer


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. 201910. 4639.

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 201924, 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. 201727, 277–281.
● Int. J. Mol. Sci. 201920, 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 20172, 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.

● Sci. Rep. 20177, 43727.

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)

Postgraduate supervision

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

Learned Society

● 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)


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 8, Room 819
New Zealand

Social links

Web links