The main focus of our research is in the field of Organic Synthesis, particulalry applied to carbohydrates. Sugars, and in particular oligosaccharides, play key roles in a plethora of biological processes and chemical synthesis allows us to make molecules that will either enable us to increase our understanding of these processes, or perhaps even more importantly enable us to interfere with undesired processes. So, as Organic Chemists, we are not only interested in synthesis for its own sake, but also in the potential that our efforts can have in the fields of Glycoscience and Medicine, be it by accessing biologically important carbohydrates, or by the synthesis of mimics of sugars as therapeutic agents. As well as mainstream synthesis we are also interested in synthetic access to proteins that bear particular defined carbohydrate structures: structurally defined glycoproteins, and we have recently expanded our expertise into the field of molecular biology in order to develop more efficient biocatalysts to achieve this aim. This research interest led to the launch of a spinout company, Glycoform (http://www.glycoform.co.uk) in 2002.
- Fairbanks AJ. (2022) The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 - some personal musings. Chemistry in New Zealand 86(1): 10-14.
- Lassé M., Stampfli AR., Orban T., Bothara RK., Gerrard JA., Fairbanks AJ., Pattinson NR. and Dobson RCJ. (2022) Corrigendum to “Reaction dynamics and residue identification of haemoglobin modification by acrolein, a lipid-peroxidation by-product” [Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - General Subjects Volume 1865, Issue 12, December 2021, 130013] (BBA - General Subjects (2021) 1865(12), (S0304416521001720), (10.1016/j.bbagen.2021.130013)). Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects 1866(5) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbagen.2022.130117.
- Qiu X., Garden AL. and Fairbanks AJ. (2022) Protecting group free glycosylation: one-pot stereocontrolled access to 1,2-trans glycosides and (1→6)-linked disaccharides of 2-acetamido sugars. Chemical Science 13(14): 4122-4130. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d2sc00222a.
- Arif T., Currie MJ., Dobson RCJ., Newson HL., Poonthiyil V., Fairbanks AJ., North RA. and Rendle PM. (2021) Synthesis of N-acetylmannosamine-6-phosphate derivatives to investigate the mechanism of N-acetylmannosamine-6-phosphate 2-epimerase. Carbohydrate Research 510 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carres.2021.108445.
- Currie MJ., Manjunath L., Horne CR., Rendle PM., Subramanian R., Friemann R., Fairbanks AJ., Muscroft-Taylor AC., North RA. and Dobson RCJ. (2021) N-acetylmannosamine-6-phosphate 2-epimerase uses a novel substrate-assisted mechanism to catalyze amino sugar epimerization. Journal of Biological Chemistry 297(4) http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbc.2021.101113.