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Helma Wennemers Seminar

Professor Sheena Radford OBE FMedSci FRS, University of Leeds
Prof. Dr. Helma Wennemers

CANCELLED: “Synthetic Collagen Peptides – From Structure to Function"

Delivered by Professor Helma Wennemers

Laboratory of Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, ETH Zürich

CANCELLED. New date to be announced.

An overarching theme of Prof Wennemers' research is the development of small molecules with functions that are fulfilled in nature by large macromolecules. Her groups utilizes the power of organic synthesis to access functionalities that nature might have not had in the repertoire of building blocks. The focus is both on practical applications and an understanding of the properties on the molecular level. Read more about Prof Wennemers' researchLink opens in a new window.

Monday 6 June 2022

16.00 BST, followed by a drinks reception at 17.00

Physics Lecture Theatre, Science Concourse


Collagen, the most abundant protein in mammals, is a key contributor for the strength and stability of skin, bones, and connective tissue. Collagen formation is thus vital for the integrity of skin, tendons, and the tissue in essentially any organ. Excessive collagen formation is, however, characteristic of fibrotic and malignant diseases, which include major global health issues.

The Wennemers group has used collagen model peptides (CMPs) to understand the stability of collagen at the molecular level and to establish functional synthetic collagen triple helices.1 These include pH-responsive synthetic collagen,2 hyperstable triple helices,3 and heterotrimeric collagen.4 Building on these data, we designed and synthetized a chemical probe for the simultaneous monitoring and targeting of lysyl oxidase (LOX)-mediated collagen cross-linking.5 The probe allows for the detection of LOX activity in vivo and in tissue sections.

1. H. Wennemers, "Peptides – Molecular Allrounders" Chimia 2021, 75, 525.

2. J. Egli, C. Siebler, B. Maryasin, R. S. Erdmann, C. Bergande, C. Ochsenfeld, H. Wennemers, Chem. Eur. J., 2017, 23, 7938–7944

3. a) J. Egli, C. Esposito, M. Müri, S. Riniker, H. Wennemers, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 5937. b) N. B. Hentzen, L. E. J. Smeenk, J. Witek, S. Riniker, H. Wennemers, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 12815–12820

4. N. B. Hentzen, V. Islami, M. Köhler, R. Zenobi, H. Wennemers, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2020, 142, 2208–2212

5. M. R. Aronoff, P. Hiebert, N. B. Hentzen, S. Werner, H. Wennemers, Nat. Chem. Biol. 2021, 17, 865.