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Personal profile

Biography

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Dr Bew graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Leicester. He subsequently moved to the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol where he undertook his PhD under the supervision of Professor J. B. Sweeney. His PhD was concerned with the synthesis of organotin derived 3-sulpholenes, their cheletropic properties and cycloaddition chemistry. Upon completing his studies he undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Bath, working on the development of novel 2-nitroimidazole containing Boron Neutron Capture Agents (BNCT) for anticancer applications. Completing his studies at Bath he moved to the Schools of Chemistry at The University of Nottingham and subsequently to the University of Wales (Cardiff, both with professor D. W. Knight) working on aspects of the synthesis of Aplasmomycin, an interesting boron containing macrocyclic antibiotic with antimalarial biological activity. Finally at the Dyson Perrins Laboratory at the University of Oxford he worked with Professor Stephen G. Davies on the development of solution- and solid-phase chiral non-racemic auxilaries probing the differences in their asymmetric chemistry on the two-phases. Whilst at Oxford and in conjunction with Yamanouchi Pharmaceuticals he also worked on the development of new medicinal entities with volume regulated chloride channel bioactivity. He took up his current position in the School of Chemistry at UEA in October 2000 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2008.

Selected publications

Sean P. Bew, D. L. Hughes, Nicholas J. Palmer, Vladimir Savic, Katy M. Soapi, Martin A. Wilson.
Stereoselective synthesis of N-alkylaziridines from N-chloroamines.
Chemical Communications, 2006, 33, advanced article
DOI: 10.1039/b608504k

Sean P. Bew, D. L. Hughes, Nicholas J. Palmer, Vladimir Savic, Katy M. Soapi, Martin A. Wilson.
Expedient synthesis of substituted (S)-N-(?)-methylbenzylaziridines.
Chemical Communications, 2006, 33, 3513 - 3515
DOI: 10.1039/b606033a

Sean P. Bew, D. L. Hughes, Sunil V. Sharma.
Acid-catalyzed synthesis of methylene-bridged (S)-tyrosine-phenol dimers.
Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2006, 71, 7881 - 7884.
DOI: 10.1021/jo0610863

 

Academic Background

  • BSc, Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Leicester
  • PhD, Organic Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • PDRA, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Bath
  • PDRA, School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham,
  • PDRA, School of Chemistry, University of Cardiff,
  • PDRA, Dyson Perrins Laboratory, Oxford University

Key Research Interests and Expertise

Our research interests are broad and have in common the development and application of synthetic organic chemistry for the formation of, quite often, new and unusual chemical entities. To facilitate and enable this process we utilise state-of-the-art chemical techniques, equipment and protocols. One of our aims is to make our chemistry accessible and relatively simple to execute. Furthermore we try and exemplify our reactions using structure and function diverse substrates hopefully demonstrating as broadly as possible the scope of a particular reaction. Where possible we report substrates that have failed to react, this is often useful allowing potential users to gauge if an unknown substrate is likely to work for them.

One particular area of interest to us is the development of new synthetic methodologies that allow the efficient, atom-economic, organocatalytic formation of small strained heterocycles called aziridines. Here we have developed several routes to chiral racemic and chiral non-racemic aziridines. As well as further optimising these towards more diverse substrates our attention is also focused on utilising this methodology for the total synthesis of several natural product derived glycopeptide antibiotics for example vancomycin and analogs of vancomycin. In conjunction with these studies the chemical exploitation of our aziridine methodology for the synthesis of alternative heterocyclic motifs is currently under way as is gaining an in depth understanding of the mechanism associated with the asymmetric synthesis of the aziridines.

A second area of considerable research effort within our group is the efficient construction of calixarenes appended, principally on the upper-rim, with diverse chemical and functional groups. At the core of this is the design and synthesis of new molecular materials, which allow us to explore their properties relating these to their structure. Aspects of this work focus on using supramolecular chemistry and catalysis for the construction of man-made biomachines that mimic, for example, enzymes. Of particular interest to us is the formation of a ‘synthetic’ calixarene-derived polyketide synthase, a very large enzyme that, ordinarily, is used by Nature for secondary metabolite formation.

Our interest in calixarene chemistry has expanded into its potential use as a sensitive sensor for gold. Employing a series of specific transformations we have been able to generate a series of structure and function diverse calixarenes that demonstrate the viability of appending specific chemical handles onto the upper-rim of a calixarene allowing the new species to specifically ‘sense’ gold, even in the presence of contaminating salts from Group 1, 2 or even metals that are chemically very similar to gold, for example platinum and mercury.

Trøgers base is an interesting, readily generated bicyclic heterocycle with a well-defined V-shaped, relatively rigid 90° conformational bias. Albeit it has been known for over 125 years it has only recently been the subject of close scrutiny undergoing chemical manipulation and investigation. We are interested in further extending these studies. Thus we have initiated a research effort that aims to exploit its unusual conformational bias probing its potential in biology and medicinal chemistry, as well as investigating its utility as a conformationally bound linker within supramolecular chemistry.
 

External Activities

  • EPSRC College Member. June 2013
  • Referee proposals for EPSRC, ACS Petroleum Research Fund, NSF, Leverhulme Trust and A-star.2008 - present
  • Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry Group committee member. December 2012
  • International invited talk at Calix2011, ICIQ, Tarragona, Spain. June 2011
  • Secretary of the Gregynog Synthesis Society, 2009 - 2011
  • International invited talk at Calix2013, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St Johns, Canada. July, 2013
  • International invited talk at the University of Rouen, France. July, 2011
  • International invited talk at FLOHET 12, Annual Florida Heterocyclic and Synthetic Chemistry Conference, University of Florida, USA. March, 2011
  • International invited talk at Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan. June, 2010
  • International invited talk at Keio University, Yokohama, Japan.June, 2010
  • International invited talk at Department of Chemistry, University of Texas at Austin, USA. March, 2010
  • International invited talk at 10th International Calixarene Conference, University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea. July, 2009
  • International invited talk at Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan. September 2008
  • International invited talk at Ewha 4th NanBio Symposium, Seoul, South Korea. September 2008
  • Regularly referee manuscripts for I regularly review manuscripts for example: Advanced Synthesis & Catalysis, Arkivoc, Chemical Communications, Chemical Society Reviews, Energy & Environmental Science, European Journal of Organic Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Organic Chemistry, New journal of Chemistry, Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, Organic Letters, Nature, Nature Chemistry, Synthesis, Synthetic Communications, Tetrahedron, Tetrahedron Letters, Tetrahedron: Asymmetry. 2008 - present

Key Responsibilities

  • School of Chemistry library representative
  • Organic safety officer
  • Chair of mass spectrometry committee

Academic Background

  • BSc, Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Leicester
  • PhD, Organic Chemistry, School of Chemistry, University of Bristol
  • PDRA, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, University of Bath
  • PDRA, School of Chemistry, University of Nottingham,
  • PDRA, School of Chemistry, University of Cardiff,
  • PDRA, Dyson Perrins Laboratory, Oxford University

Administrative Posts

  • School of Chemistry library representative
  • Organic safety officer
  • Chair of mass spectrometry committee

Network

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