School of Physical and Chemical Sciences Te Kura Matū Seminar Series

Don’t ignore the linker! Self-immolative linkers in bioorthogonal chemistry and on-demand heterocycle synthesis


Dr Alan Gamble


Senior Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Otago

Time & Place

Wed, 02 Oct 2019 12:00:00 NZDT in Room 701, West Building

All are welcome


Self-immolative linkers enable chemists and biologists to mask a chemical group required for function, with the added benefit of being able to control the removal of the group when required. However, there are still some issues with these types of linkers including: (1) non-optimal release kinetics and (2) generation of reactive by-products.

Our investigations into new and improved self-immolative linkers, which aim to address the shortcomings of current linkers will be presented. For example, we have developed a new method for bioorthogonal activation of prodrugs, whereby the structure of the linker dictates the release rate of the drug. Also discussed will be our work investigating the potential to generate heterocycles in situ from the reactive by-products of the self-immolation.  

All Welcome


Allan Gamble received his PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Wollongong, under the supervision of Professor Paul Keller in 2008. He then moved to Canberra to take up a postdoctoral position in the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University with Professor Chris Easton where he worked on peptide hormone regulation in cancer.

In 2011, he was awarded an American-Australian Sir Keith Murdoch Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Professor Paul Wender at Stanford University in the area of drug delivery.

In May 2012 he was appointed Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016.

His current research interests are in bioorganic and medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, and drug delivery.

Allan Gamble’s recent awards include:

  • 2018 The University of Otago Early Career Award for Distinction in Research
  • 2017 The School of Pharmacy Emerging Researcher Award
  • 2016 The OUSA Health Sciences and New Supervisor of the Year Award

 Read more here