Chemist John Vederas seeks to understand the chemistry by which nature assembles biological molecules – not only as an exciting intellectual endeavour, but also as a prerequisite to rationally influence life processes in medicine and agriculture. His research currently centres on the formation of important biological molecules, including antimicrobial peptides, amino acid metabolites and polyketides. His approach is interdisciplinary.
Experimental aspects of his research encompass organic synthesis and spectroscopic methodology (especially NMR and mass spectrometry), as well as isotopic techniques, natural products isolation, enzymatic reactions, molecular biology, bioinformatics and culturing of micro-organisms. Current projects include structures and mechanisms of peptides with cardiovascular or antibiotic activity against pathogens resistant to current therapy; formation of fungal polyketides, including cholesterol lowering agents such as lovastatin and simvastatin; and mechanisms of enzymes that catalyze unusual processes (e.g., conversion of the anticholinergic drug atropine to scopolamine).
Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, 2014
Fellow of the Royal Society (London), 2009
Chemical Institute of Canada (CIC) Medal, 2008
University Professor of Chemistry (University of Alberta), 2000.
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1997
Cochrane, R.V.K. et al. "Production of new cladosporin analogues by reconstitution of the polyketide synthases responsible for the biosynthesis of this antimalarial agent." Angew. Chemie Int. Ed. 55 (2016): 664–68.
Cochrane, R.V.K., and J.C. Vederas. "Highly selective but multifunctional oxygenases in secondary metabolism." Accts. Chem. Res. 47 (2014): 3148–3161.
Lohans, C.T., J.L. Li, and J.C. Vederas. "Structure and Biosynthesis of Carnolysin, a Homolog of Enterococcal Cytolysin with D-Amino Acids." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 136 (2014): 13150–13153.
Lohans, C.T. et al. "Structural Characterization of the Highly Cyclized Lantibiotic Paenicidin A via a Partial Desulfurization/Reduction Strategy." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 134 (2012): 19540–19543.
Liu, W. et al. "Solid Supported Chemical Syntheses of Both Components of the Lantibiotic Lacticin 3147." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 133 (2011): 14216–14219.
Vederas, J.C., ed. Amino Acids, Peptides & Proteins. Volume 5 of Comprehensive Natural Products II Chemistry and Biology. Oxford: Elsevier, 2010.
Leeper, F.J., and J.C. Vederas, eds. Aromatic Polyketides, Isoprenoids and Alkaloids. Volume II – Topics in Current Chemistry. Springer-Verlag, 2000.
Leeper, F.J., and J.C. Vederas, eds. Biosynthesis – Polyketides and Vitamins. Desktop Editions in Chemistry. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 2000.