Leeper Group



Name: Finian James LEEPER
Work Address: Dept. of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW.
Telephone: +44 1233 336403
E-mail address: fjl1@cam.ac.uk

Born: 3rd October 1954, Esher, Surrey, UK.
Nationality: British
Married, two children.

Education: Downside School, Somerset. 1967-1972.
12 O-levels, 4 A-levels: Chemistry A1, Physics A, Pure Maths A2, Applied Maths A.

University: St. John's College, Cambridge. 1972-1975.
Scholarship to read Natural Sciences; specialized in Chemistry (with Biochemistry in 2nd year). Degree: B.A. 1st Class with Honours. M.A., 1980.

Ph.D. Study: Cambridge University. 1975-1978. Supervisor: Dr. J. Staunton.
Research: Biomimetic Syntheses of Polyketides. Heptaketides such as alternariol, rubrofusarin and toralactone were synthesised from protected polycarbonyl compounds and an approach to more complex polyketides was investigated.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: 1978-1980. McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Supervisor: Prof. I.D. Spenser.
Research: Biosynthesis of Quinolizidine Alkaloids. The biosynthesis of matrine and of lupanine was studied by incorporation of 14C and 3H labelled precursors followed by extensive degradation to locate the labels.

Research Fellowship: St. John's College, Cambridge. 1980-1982.
Research: Biosynthesis of Polyketides and related Antibiotics. The biosynthetic routes to polyketides rubrofusarin and citromycetin and the polyether antibiotic ICI139603 were investigated using multiply 2H- and 13C-labelled precursors.

Assistant Lecturer (1982-1987), Lecturer (1987-2001) and Senior Lecturer (2001 to date): University of Cambridge.
Fellow, Graduate Tutor and Director of Studies in Chemistry Emmanuel College, Cambridge.
Teaching: Lecture Courses on Coenzymes and Heterocycles, Stereochemistry, NMR Spectroscopy, and Medicinal Chemistry given to 2nd year undergraduates, on Enzymes and on Biosynthesis to 3rd year, and also Postgraduate lectures. Also extensive supervising, demonstrating and examining.
Research: Synthesis and studies of substrate analogues and of active site directed inhibitors of enzymes; mechanistic studies on thiamin diphosphate dependent enzymes; synthesis and reactions of thiazolium salts to act as models for the action of thiamin; studies on the biosynthesis of tetrapyrroles, polyketides and alkaloids; synthesis of PET tracers using polymer-supported reagents; novel methods of glycan imaging for cancer diagnosis; synthesis of novel contrast agents for MRI; synthesis of transition state analogues for the generation of catalytic antibodies; use of enzymes in synthesis; synthesis of adenosine analogues of pharmacological interest.
Administration: University Proctor (1992-95), College Graduate Tutor (1998-2011), Chairman of Examiners for Natural Sciences Parts IB, II and III (1997-1999), Graduate Admissions Officer for Organic Chemistry (1997-2001), Member of University's Board of Graduate Studies and Committee on Grants (2001-2003). Senior Treasurer of the College Boat Club and on several College and Departmental committees.
Other: Commissioning Editor (2000-2007) and Advisory Board (2007-) for Natural Products Reports (Royal Society of Chemistry).

Interests: Sport: Rugby (School and College 1st XV's), Tennis (School captain), Squash, Cricket (Dept. captain), etc.; Travel; D.I.Y.; Listening to Classical Music; Computers, Family History.

Links: Marion Leeper, Storyteller, Leeper & Stirling Family Trees, Terpene Synthase Database.


Department of Chemistry
University of Cambridge