Organic Hirschmann Seminar – Prof. Nicholas Turner (University of Manchester)

This event has passed.

1315 Seminar Hall
@ 3:30 pm - 4:40 pm

Prof. Nicholas Turner

Title: Multifunctional Biocatalysts for Organic Synthesis

Abstract: This lecture will focus on a remarkably diverse and promiscuous family of oxidoreductases based around imine reductases. Their discovery and mechanism as well as application in enzyme cascade reactions will be used to illustrate how these biocatalysts can be applied widely in synthesis.

Bio: Nicholas Turner is Professor of Chemical Biology, former Director of the Centre of Excellence in Biocatalysis (CoEBio3) and co-Director of SYNBIOCHEM. His research interests span biocatalysis, directed evolution of enzymes and synthetic biology. He has published >450 papers/patents with an h-index of 83 and ca. 24,000 citations. He is a member of several Scientific Advisory Boards and consults widely. He has received many awards for his research achievements and held an ERC Advanced Grant (2017-2023). In May 2020 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and in 2021 he became a Member of Academia Europea (MAE).

The Turner group ( is at the forefront of research aimed at creating new enzymes for application as biocatalysts for chemical synthesis. We employ both protein engineering and directed evolution methods in order to develop biocatalysts with tailored properties such high stereoselectivity, improved activity and enhanced stability. These biocatalysts have been applied to the synthesis of a range of target molecules especially pharmaceuticals:

  • Alcohols to amines via biocatalytic ‘hydrogen borrowing’ (Science2015349, 1525; Angew Chem201756, 10491; ChemCatChem20179, 3833; JACS2019141, 1201).
  • Reductive aminases (RedAms), imine reductases (IREDs) and carboxylic acid reductases (CARs) (Nature Chem202013, 140; Nature Chem20179, 961; Nature Chem Biol201713, 975; JACS2018140, 17872; Nature2022604, 86).
  • Cascade reactions (Angew Chem201655, 1511; Angew Chem201453, 2447; Nature Chem20135, 93).
  • Biocatalytic retrosynthesis (Nature Catalysis20214, 98; Nature Chem Biol20139, 285; Angew Chem201756, 8942; Angew Chem201857, 3692).
  • Deracemisation of amines (Angew Chem201453, 3731; JACS2013135, 10863).
  • Asymmetric alkene amination (JACS2015137, 12977; Angew Chem201554, 4608).

Keywords: Biocatalysis; Directed evolution; Pharmaceuticals; Sustainable chemistry; Retrosynthesis; Deracemization

Host: Prof. Andrew Buller