About Dr Matthew Todd

To make the right molecules, in the right place at the right time.

Mat is Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the University of Sydney.

The lab’s work on drug discovery for schistosomiasis (Bilharzia) is internationally recognised, and Mat is collaborating with both the World Health Organisation and the chemical industry in the search for new drugs for this tropical disease. A three-year research project was funded by the Australian Research Council in 2008 to find a low-cost synthesis of the drug used to treat this disease (praziquantel) as a single enantiomer. To this end, he is a champion of so-called ‘Open Source’ methods in biomedical research, and manages the schistosomiasis research community at the Synaptic Leap, a non-profit biomedical research organisation. He is using the massively collaborative environment of the internet to help solve the synthetic challenge of praziquantel.
      A core interest of the lab is asymmetric catalysis, specifically what processes are going on in a chemical reaction while it is proceeding, and how we use this knowledge in the discovery of new catalysts with unusual action. Again, this work is a combination of different disciplines, from industrial and real-time analytical chemistry to computational methods. He is a founding member of the University of Sydney Centre of Sustainability: Mat’s lab works to develop new synthetic chemistry that is atom-economic and catalytically efficient.
      He previously secured over $2.5M of funding for synthetic chemistry projects related to cancer research. These international collaborations are ongoing, and centre on the synthesis of new small-molecule cancer drugs and sensors, as well as molecules capable of the sequence-selective cleavage of DNA.
      Mat was educated at Cambridge University in the UK, and was then a Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley. He spent a year as a College Lecturer and Fellow at New Hall College, Cambridge University and was then appointed lecturer in Chemistry at Queen Mary, University of London in 2001. Mat was appointed to the University of Sydney in June 2005. He is section editor (organic chemistry) for Chemistry Central Journal, and regularly reviews research papers for diverse chemistry and medicinal chemistry journals.Note: Project costs (chemicals, consumables, spectroscopy) are covered through existing funding in the group. Australian candidates are expected to be covered by an Australian Postgraduate Award. There is no direct funding for fees/salary of potential international students, but assistance will be given to good candidates (ideally with a research publication) who apply for scholarships to study at the University.

Selected publications

  1. Synthesis and DNA binding ability of cyclam-amino acid conjugates, A. V. Ramana, M. Watkinson and M. H. Todd, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2008, 18, 3007-10.  [DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2004.09.004]
  2. Effective Methods for the Biotinylation of Azamacrocycles, S. Krivickas, E. Tamanini, M. H. Todd and M. Watkinson, J. Org. Chem., 2007, 72, 8280-8289. [DOI: 10.1021/jo071175v] 
  3. Praziquantel Analogues. I. Modification of the Aromatic Ring, F. E. Ronketti, A. V. Ramana, X. Chao-Ming, L. Pica-Mattoccia, D. Cioli and M. H. Todd, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2007, 17, 4154-4157.  [DOI: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2007.05.063]
  4. Open Access and Open Source in Chemistry, M. H. Todd, Chemistry Central Journal, 2007, 1:3.[DOI: 10.1186/1752-153X-1-3]
  5. Open Source Research - The Power of Us, T. B. Kepler, M. A. Marti-Renom, S. M. Maurer, A. K. Rai, G. Taylor and M. H. Todd, Aust. J. Chem., 2006, 59, 291-294.  [DOI: 10.1071/CH06095]
  6. Design and Synthesis of New Tetrazolyl- and Carboxy-biphenylylmethyl quinazoline Derivatives as Angiotensin II AT1 Receptor Antagonists, Mohamed A. H. Ismail, Stewart Barker, Dalal A. Abou El Ella, Khaled A. M. Abouzid, Rabab A. Toubar and M. H. Todd, J. Med. Chem., 2006, 49, 1526-1535.  [DOI: 10.1021/jm050232e]
  7. Solid Phase Synthesis of Praziquantel, W. Mansour, S. El-Fayoummy and M. H. Todd, Tetrahedron Lett., 2006, 47, 1287-1290.  [DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2005.12.073]
  8. Computer-Aided Organic Synthesis, M. H. Todd, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2005, 34, 247-266.  [DOI:10.1039/b104620a]
  9. Amino Acid-Derived Heterocycles: Lewis Acid-Catalyzed and Radical Cyclizations from Peptide Acetals, M. H. Todd, C. O. Ndubaku and P. A. Bartlett, J. Org. Chem., 2002, 67, 3985-3988.  [DOI: 10.1021/jo010990m]
  10. Asymmetric Autocatalysis: Product Recruitment for the Increase in the Chiral Environment (PRICE), M. H. Todd, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2002, 31, 211-222.  [DOI:10.1039/b104169j]