J.L. Kiappes

jl kiappes

J.L. is a medicinal chemist, whose research within the Zitzmann lab spanned from organic synthesis to biophysical methods and virology. Novel molecules were synthesised, and then tested for binding to proteins using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and other biophysical techniques. Promising compounds were tested in enzyme assays. The main targets were enzymes (the ER α-glucosidases and UGGT) of the Calnexin/Calreticulin cycle, a protein folding pathway in human cells that many enveloped viruses hijack to fold their own proteins. Compounds that effectively inhibit the enzymes were then tested for inhibition of viruses (including dengue, Zika, and SARS CoV-2).


J.L. originally joined the Zitzmann lab as a U.S. National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow while studying for a DPhil in Biochemistry and PhD in Organic Chemistry. As a Skaggs–Oxford Scholar, he completed the first portion of his thesis work at the Scripps Research Institute, working in the group of Prof. K. C. Nicolaou. There, he completed a synthesis of the carboline-disaccharide domain of the marine natural product, shishijimicin A. Before starting his doctoral work, he obtained his B.S. in chemistry from Rice University (Lovett College). During his undergraduate, J.L. worked with Prof. Jim Tour on the synthesis of molecular machines.


As well as research in the lab, J.L. was very interested in teaching and developing resources to support student learning. In the Department of Biochemistry, he provided lectures covering organic chemistry, carbohydrate chemistry and protein-ligand interactions. In addition, he was involved in practicals and workshops that complement the lecture courses, as well as classes for students pursuing the Aromatic and Heterocyclic supplementary subject. Since 2015, J.L. had been a Stipendiary Lecturer in Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at Corpus Christi College, and provided tutorials at other colleges (including Lincoln and Trinity, among others).


An advocate of science outreach, J.L. contributed to the UNIQ Biochemistry courses offered to sixth form students annually. He has also been actively involved in the International Chemistry Olympiad since 2004, first as a member of the US delegation, then as a member of the International Steering Committee (2008 – 2012, 2016 – present). Since 2018, he has served as a member of the UK Chemistry Olympiad Working Group of the RSC, helping to design and run the national competition to select and train the UK team.



Selected Publications 

  • Targeting ER α-glucosidase I with a single-dose iminosugar treatment protects against lethal influenza and dengue virus infections; K. L. Warfield, D. S. Alonzi, J. C. Hill, A. T. Caputo, P. Roversi, J. L. Kiappes, N. Sheets, M. Duchars, R. A. Dwek, J. Biggins, D. Barnard, S. Shresta, A. M. Treston; N. Zitzmann; J. Med. Chem. 2020, 63, 8, 4205–4214 (2020).
  • Essential chemistry for biochemists; A. L. Jonsson, M. A. J. Roberts, J. L. Kiappes, K. A. Scott; Essays in biochemistry 61(4):401-427 (2017).
  • ToP-DNJ, a selective inhibitor of endoplasmic reticulum α-glucosidase II exhibiting anti-flaviviral activity; J. L. Kiappes, M. L. Hill, D. S. Alonzi, J. L. Miller, R. Iwaki, A. C. Sayce, A. Caputo, A. Kato, N. Zitzmann; ACS Chemical Biology 13(1):60–65 (2017).
  • Synthesis of the Carboline Disaccharide Domain of Shishijimicin A; K. C. Nicolaou, J. L. Kiappes, W. Tian, V. B. Gondi, J. Becker; Org. Lett. 13(15), 3924-3927 (2011).
  • Synthesis of a Porphyrin-Fullerene Pinwheel; T. Sasaki, A. J. OsgoodJ. L. Kiappes, K. F. Kelly, J. M. Tour; Org. Lett. 10(7), 1377-1380 (2008).