Professor Gary Evans
Enzyme inhibitors, medicinal chemistry
Most of Professor Gary Evans’ synthesis work is organic and medicinal chemistry, making enzyme inhibitors for treating cancer and combatting infectious diseases caused by viruses and bacteria. The majority of his research is carried out in collaboration with Professor Vern Schramm from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.
“A career highlight for me was to get our second immucillin compound sub-licensed to Roche back in 2005. We designed the molecule with Vern, synthesised it, had it tested, worked out how to make it on a large scale and licensed it to a US biotech company. Not many compounds discovered and developed by an academic group make it that far.”
Currently his work is focussed on antivirals and antibiotic resistance through inhibiting enzymes that impact on bacterial communication processes like quorum sensing.
Gary did his PhD at Otago University, a postdoc at Oxford University and then worked for his postdoc supervisor, Steve Davies, at Oxford Asymmetry. “I gained experience in a scale-up biotech company there, that ended up being extremely valuable to the team here as the large scale GlycoSyn facility was built.” Gary is a Principal Investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery which harnesses and links New Zealand’s outstanding expertise in biomedical research to develop cutting-edge drugs and vaccines, tools for early diagnosis and prevention, and new models of disease.
Professor Gary Evan's inaugural professorial lecture