About Associate Professor Peter Rutledge

Understanding our world at the molecular level allows us to influence and improve things from the bottom up. My passion is harnessing the power of chemistry to shape our world for the better, enhance quality of life and protect the planet.

Our research combines organic synthesis, bio-organic chemistry and chemical biology to develop new drugs and sensors for biomedical applications, chemical solutions to environmental problems, and catalysts for new synthetic reactions.

Peter was educated at the University of Auckland (BSc and MSc(Hons)) and Oxford University (DPhil). He then held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Dyson Perrins Laboratory (Oxford) and teaching appointments at Magdalen and Somerville Colleges in Oxford. He took up a lectureship in chemical biology at University College Dublin in 2003, before moving to the University of Sydney in 2006.  Peter is on the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports and regularly reviews for a wide range of journals in chemistry and chemical biology.  Research highlights to date include the design of electrochemical and fluorescent sensors for mercury and copper in the environment (work published in Chem. Eur. J., Tetrahedron, J. Organomet. Chem. – see for example Refs 4, 5, 6 and 7 below); development of iron-based catalysts and biocatalysts for dihydroxylation, allylic oxidation and epoxidation reactions (published in Org. Biomol. Chem., Synlett., Tetrahedron, see Refs 1, 2, 8 and 9), and antibiotics chemistry (see Nature, J. Am. Chem. Soc., ChemBioChem, Biochemistry, e.g. Refs 3 and 10 below).  Peter’s research has received more than $1.1 M in competitive grant income in the last nine years, including major grants in sensing (Australian Research Council and the National Breast Cancer Foundation), catalysis (Science Foundation Ireland) and biomimetic chemistry (Higher Education Authority, Ireland and Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology).  Peter has also won a number of awards for his chemistry, including a Young Tall Poppy Science Award (2008), the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Organic Division Athel Beckwith Lectureship (2007) and Nyholm Lectureship (2007), the President’s Award for Research at University College Dublin (2004), and awards for teaching chemistry (eg Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Support of the Student Experience (2010) and Outstanding Teaching (2011) and an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citation for Teaching Excellence (2011)).  Peter has previously supervised 10 PhD, 2 MSc and 21 Honours students to successful completion at the University of Sydney, University College Dublin, and Oxford University. Students he has supervised have gone on to postdoc and PhD positions at universities and companies around the world, including Harvard University, the University of Nottingham, the University of Warwick, the University of Toronto, the University of Queensland, Oxford University, Cambridge University, Evotech (UK) and Syngenta (Switzerland).

We collaborate widely with co-workers in the School of Chemistry, other schools at the University of Sydney, and internationally. Our most important current collaborations are with Dr Matthew Todd (Sydney, Chemistry), Dr Nicholas Coleman (Sydney, Molecular Biosciences), Prof John Canning (Sydney, Chemistry), Prof Katrina Jolliffe (Sydney, Chemistry) and Prof Greg Challis (Warwick, UK) and their co-workers.

Selected publications

  1. Yu, M; Ast, S; Yu, Q; Lo, A; Flehr, R; Todd, M and Rutledge, P. Incorporating a piperidinyl group in the fluorophore extends the fluorescence lifetime of click-derived cyclam-naphthalimide conjugates. PLoS One, 9 (7), e100761-1-e100761-12, 2014. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100761
  2. Yu, M; Yu, Q;Rutledge, P and Todd, M. A fluorescent "allosteric scorpionand" complex visualizes a biological recognition event. ChemBioChem: A European Journal of Chemical Biology, 14 (2), 224-229. 2013. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.201200637
  3. Dungan, V; Poon, B; Barrett, E and Rutledge, P. L-Proline derived mimics of the non-haem iron active site catalyse allylic oxidation in acetonitrile solutions. Tetrahedron Letters, 54 (10), 1236-1238, 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2012.12.095
  4. Cheung, S; McCarl, V; Holmes, AJ; Coleman, NV and Rutledge, PJ. Substrate range and enantioselectivity of epoxidation reactions mediated by the ethene-oxidising Mycobacterium strain NBB4.  Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol., 97 (3) 1131-1140, 2013 DOI: 10.1007/s00253-012-3975-6
  5. Dungan, VJ; Wong, SM; Barry, SM and Rutledge, PJ. L-proline-derived ligands to mimic the '2-His-1-carboxylate' triad of the non-haem iron oxidase active site. Tetrahedron, 68 (15), 3231-3236, 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2012.02.031
  6. Lau, YH; Rutledge, PJ; Watkinson, M and Todd, MH.  Chemical sensors that incorporate click-derived triazoles. Chem. Soc. Rev., 40, 2848-2866, 2011. DOI: 10.1039/c0cs00143k
  7. Lau, YH; Price, JR; Todd, MH and Rutledge, PJ. A click fluorophore sensor that can distinguish CuII and HgII via selective anion-induced demetallation. Chemistry: A European Journal, 17 (10), 2850-2858, 2011. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201002477
  8. Scully, CCG and Rutledge, RJ. Synthesis and electrochemical studies of disubstituted ferrocene/dipeptide conjugates with sulfur-containing side chains. Tetrahedron, 66 (30), 5653-5659, 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2010.05.070
  9. Dungan, VJ; Ortin, Y; Mueller-Bunz, H and Rutledge, PJ. Design and synthesis of a tetradentate ‘3-amine-1-carboxylate’ ligand to mimic the metal binding environment at the non-heme iron(II) oxidase active stie. Org. Biomol. Chem., 8 (7), 1666-1673, 2010. DOI: 10.1039/b921934j
  10. Ge, W; Clifton, IJ; Stok, JE; Adlington, RM; Baldwin, JE and Rutledge, PJ.  Isopenicillin N synthase mediates thiolate oxidation to sulfenate in a depsipeptide substrate analogue: Implications for oxygen binding and a link to nitrile hydratase? J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130, 10096-10102, 2008. DOI: 10.1021/ja8005397