Dr Kevin Lam

Dr Kevin Lam BSc, MSc, PhD, MRSC

Associate Professor/Reader in Medicinal Chemistry

Key details

Dr Kevin Lam
BSc, MSc, PhD, MRSC

Associate Professor/Reader in Medicinal Chemistry

Programme Leader for the PhD programme in Science


In 2010, Dr Kevin Lam received his PhD in Medicinal and Synthetic Organic Chemistry from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, under the supervision of Professor Istvan Marko. His doctoral work explored the use of electrochemistry and photochemistry as green alternatives to activate organic molecules. This work resulted in the development of a new radical-based deoxygenation reaction (the Lam-Marko reaction).

After his PhD, he moved to the University of Vermont (UVM). His research focused on applying analytical/physical electrochemistry alongside spectroscopy to study the complex redox behaviour of organometallic compounds.

This work bolstered the use of weakly coordinating electrolytes/solvents as an electrochemical medium to allow for the generation and characterisation of highly reactive and unstable 17e- organometallic radical-cations. Additional work at UVM led to the pioneering of a new method to modify electrode surfaces through an ethynyl linkage. The covalent attachment of molecules to an electrode surface is fundamental to the field of molecular electronics and numerous material applications.

In 2013, he accepted a position of Assistant Professor at Nazarbayev University in Astana. During his time in Kazakhstan, Kevin developed a new research program in the field of Molecular Electrochemistry. His work led to the development of new organometallic anticancer compounds as well as to the discovery of novel, efficient and green electrocatalysts for CO2 recycling.

In 2017, Kevin accepted a Reader position in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Greenwich in the U.K. where he continues his interdisciplinary research.

Responsibilities within the university

Course Participation

  • Elements of Drug Discovery (Level 4) 
  • Further Organic Chemistry (Level 5) 
  • Intermediate Chemistry (Level 5) 
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry 1 (Level 6) 
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry 2 (Level 6) 
  • BSc Research Project (Level 6) 
  • Medicinal Chemistry and Biological Chemistry (Level 7) 
  • MChem Research Project 
  • MSc Research Project

Awards

  • Thieme Journals Award 2019
  • University of Greenwich Outstanding Achievement in Research Award 2019
  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Member of the Electrochemical Society
  • Member of the Vermont Cancer Center
  • Member of the Societé Royale de Chimie (Belgium)

Recognition

  • Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (MRSC)
  • Member of the American Chemical Society
  • Member of the Electrochemical Society
  • Member of the Vermont Cancer Center
  • Member of the Societé Royale de Chimie (Belgium)

Research / Scholarly interests

Kevin Lam's research focuses on the use of electrochemistry as an "out of the box" tool to solve fundamental challenges. He has demonstrated rare interdisciplinarity and made significant contributions to disparate fields ranging from catalysis to oncology. This unique interdisciplinarity allowed him to develop an exceptional international collaborative network across the continents (USA, France, Japan, etc.). Kevin also collaborates with numerous industries and, with IKA, he is taking part in designing the electrochemical equipment of the future.

Key funded projects

Our laboratory is currently studying the syntheses of a variety of biologically active molecules with important pharmacological properties. We are particularly interested in developing new organometallic drugs. The concise synthesis of such molecules is a challenge that stimulates us to develop new synthetic methodologies that enable the construction of several bonds and/or rings in a single step and control the chiral centres formed in the process. Much to our delight, our first molecules are now receiving patents in the United States.

Although our research is usually presented in several subgroups, such as the development of new and efficient synthetic methodologies or organometallic chemistry, our topics are thoroughly integrated. For example, various chemical syntheses rely upon the development of new and efficient organometallic catalysts or the use of a new method of activation such as electrochemistry. This close overlap in our research topics has led us to bring our findings all together in a single place.

1. Activation of Organic Molecules Using Electrochemistry

Electrosynthesis is a powerful tool in organic chemistry that circumvents the previous issues by allowing to generate radicals under mild and green conditions. Even though a plethora of transformations have been developed and many of them were successfully used in several industrial processes, the potential of preparative organic electrochemistry remains largely underestimated. However, the growing impetus to look for greener and cheaper alternatives to classic synthetic methodologies prompted us to investigate further new electrochemical methodologies.

We recently developed novel electrochemical methodologies to access highly reactive intermediates such as benzoyloxy and oxycarbonyl radicals.

2. Medicinal Electrochemistry –  Collaboration with Professor Claire Verschraegen (James Hospital – Ohio State University)

Our group combined medicinal chemistry, organic synthesis and electrochemistry to develop a new research field: Medicinal Electrochemistry. Our unique approach is to use electrochemistry not only as a way to prepare new libraries of redox active compounds but also as a way to investigate their bioelectrochemical properties. As a result, we developed and patented a new class of organometallic anticancer compounds called Cymanquine 

3. Electrocatalysed Reduction of Carbon Dioxide – Collaboration with Professor Richard Kemp (Sandia National Laboratories / University of New Mexico – USA)

While many serious issues and problems now face the human population, perhaps the ones with the largest effects on the long-term viability and success of the planet's inhabitants are those of energy availability and global climate change. These two issues are in part connected in a chemical sense via the simple carbon dioxide (CO2) molecule.

 Despite the view that main group (s and p block) elements are often considered relatively "simple" elements, Professor Kemp has found in his previous work that unusual and surprising chemical behaviour is often demonstrated by complexes of these metals.  

Ideally, our overall concept for the preparation of a new CO2 electroreduction catalyst is to use a) an inexpensive, earth-abundant metal complex, in b) a solvent system that is "green" (ultimately water or ionic liquids), under c) mild conditions of temperature and pressure, to d) interact with and reduce CO2 to either CO or other small molecules that can be converted into transportation fuels by known catalytic processes, e.g., Fischer-Tropsch, by e) using free electrons capable of being generated by renewable means such as electrochemistry.

The overall concept consists in making an electro-catalyst bearing a Lewis acid and a Lewis base. Much to our delight, the first generation of electrocatalysts has proven to be efficient in reducing CO2 into CO, however, the exact mechanism is still under investigation.

Recent publications

Article

Garcia, Anthony D. , Leech, Matthew C., Petti, Alessia, Denis, Camille , Goodall, Iain C. A. , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2020), Anodic oxidation of dithiane carboxylic acids: a rapid and mild 2 way to access functionalized orthoesters. American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Organic Letters, 22 (10) . pp. 4000-4005 ISSN: 1523-7060 (Print), 1523-7052 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.0c01324) NB Item availability restricted.

Leech, Matthew C. , Garcia, Anthony D., Petti, Alessia, Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2020), Organic electrosynthesis: From academia to industry. Royal Society of Chemistry. In: , , , . Royal Society of Chemistry, Reaction Chemistry & Engineering, 5 (6) . pp. 977-990 2058-9883 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/D0RE00064G) NB Item availability restricted.

Zeinalipour-Yazdi, Constantinos D. and , Lam, Kevin (2020), Linear correlation of vertical ionization energies and partial charges on acetaldehyde and methyl formate radicals in various solvents. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Chemical Physics Letters, 746: 137311 ISSN: 0009-2614 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cplett.2020.137311) NB Item availability restricted.

Leech, Matthew C. and , Lam, Kevin (2020), Electrosynthesis using carboxylic acid derivatives: new tricks for old reactions. American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Accounts of Chemical Research, 53 (1) . pp. 121-134 ISSN: 0001-4842 (Print), 1520-4898 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.accounts.9b00586) NB Item availability restricted.

Sampani, Stavroula I. , Zdorichenko, Victor, Danopoulou, Marianna, Leech, Matthew C. , Lam, Kevin , Abdul-Sada, Alaa , Cox, Brian , Tizzard, Graham J. , Coles, Simon J. , Tsipis, Athanassios (2019), Shedding light on the use of Cu(ii)-salen complexes in the A3 coupling reaction. Royal Society of Chemistry. In: , , , . Royal Society of Chemistry, Dalton Transactions, 2020: 49 . pp. 289-299 ISSN: 1477-9226 (Print), 1477-9234 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/C9DT04146J).

Geiger, William E , Sheridan, Matthew V, Lam, Kevin, Waterman, Rory (2019), Anodic oxidation of ethynylferrocene derivatives in homogeneous solution and following anodic deposition onto glassy carbon electrodes. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, ChemElectrochem, 6 (23) . pp. 5880-5887 2196-0216 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/celc.201901545).

Petti, Alessia , Leech, Matthew C., Garcia, Anthony D., Goodall, Iain C.A. , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Lam, Kevin (2019), Economical, green, and safe route towards substituted lactones by anodic generation of oxycarbonyl radicals. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 58 (45) . pp. 16115-16118 ISSN: 1433-7851 (Print), 1521-3773 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201909922).

van Melis, Carlo G. W. , Penny, Matthew R., Garcia, Anthony D., Petti, Alessia , Dobbs, Adrian P. , Hilton, Stephen T. , Lam, Kevin (2019), Supporting‐electrolyte‐free electrochemical methoxymethylation of alcohols using a 3D‐printed electrosynthesis continuous flow cell system. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, ChemElectrochem, 6 (16) . pp. 4144-4148 ISSN: 2196-0216 (Print), 2196-0216 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/celc.201900815).

Zaitsev, Kirill V , Lam, Kevin, Poleshchuk, Oleg Kh., Bezzubov, Stanislav I. , Churakov, Andrei V. (2019), Aryl Germanes as Ligands for transition Polymetallic Complexes: Synthesis, Structure, and Properties. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2019 (22) . pp. 2750-2760 ISSN: 1434-1948 (Print), 1099-0682 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejic.201900316).

Zaitsev, Kirill V. , Lam, Kevin, Tafeenko, Viktor A., Korlyukov, Alexander A. , Poleshchuk, Oleg Kh. (2018), Aryl oligogermanes as ligands for transition metal complexes. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2018 (45) . pp. 4911-4924 ISSN: 1434-1948 (Print), 1099-0682 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/ejic.201801095).

Ma, Xiaofeng , Dewez, Damien F., Du, Le, Luo, Xiya , Markó, István E. , Lam, Kevin (2018), Synthesis of diketones, ketoesters and tetraketones by electrochemical oxidative decarboxylation of malonic acid derivatives: Application to the synthesis of cis-jasmone. American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 83 (19) . pp. 12044-12055 ISSN: 0022-3263 (Print), 1520-6904 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.8b01994).

Luo, Xia , Ma, Xiaofeng, Lebreux, Frédéric, Markó, István E. , Lam, Kevin (2018), Electrochemical methoxymethylation of alcohols – a new, green and safe approach for the preparation of MOM ethers and other acetals. Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC). In: , , , . Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), Chemical Communications, 54 (71) . pp. 9969-9972 ISSN: 1359-7345 (Print), 1364-548X (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/C8CC05843A).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Novel organometallic chloroquine derivative inhibits tumor growth. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, 119 (7) . pp. 5921-5933 ISSN: 0730-2312 (Print), 1097-4644 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/jcb.26787).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Oligothienyl catenated germanes and silanes: synthesis, structure, properties. RSC Publishing. In: , , , . RSC Publishing, Dalton Transactions, 2018 (15) . pp. 5431-5444 ISSN: 1477-9226 (Print), 1477-9234 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/C8DT00256H).

Bruggen, Jessica A. , Feller, Keyton D., Schickel, Henry I., Tuleushova, Nazym , Zhukush, Medet , Lam, Kevin , Barry, Brian M. , Kemp, Richard A. (2017), Synthesis and characterization of metal (M=Al or Ga) 2-phosphino (phenolate/benzenethiolate) complexes and their electrochemical behavior in the presence of CO2. IOS Press. In: , , , . IOS Press, Main Group Chemistry, 16 (4) . pp. 307-319 ISSN: 1024-1221 (Print), 1745-1167 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.3233/MGC-170245).

Zaitsev, Kirill V. , Kharcheva, Anastasia V., Lam, Kevin, Zhanabil, Zhaisan , Issabayeva, Guldana , Oprunenko, Yuri F. , Churakov, Andrei V. , Zaitseva, Galina S. , Karlov, Sergey S. (2017), Donor-acceptor molecular oligogermanes: Novel properties and structural aspects. Elsevier B.V.. In: , , , . Elsevier B.V., Journal of Organometallic Chemistry ISSN: 0022-328X (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jorganchem.2017.11.029).

Hayrapetyan, Davit , Shkepu, Viacheslav, Seilkhanov, Olzhas T, Zhanabil, Zhaisan , Lam, Kevin (2017), Electrochemical synthesis of phthalides via anodic activation of aromatic carboxylic acids. Royal Society of Chemistry. In: , , , . Royal Society of Chemistry, Chemical Communications, 53 (60) . pp. 8451-8454 ISSN: 1359-7345 (Print), 1364-548X (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1039/C7CC03669H).

Lam, Kevin , Van Wyck, Stephen J., Geiger, William E. (2017), One-electron oxidation of chloroquine, cymanquine, and related aminoquinolines in nonaqueous media. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 799 . pp. 531-537 ISSN: 1572-6657 (Print), 1873-2569 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelechem.2017.06.041).

Lam, Kevin and , Geiger, William E. (2017), Corrigendum to “Synthesis and anodic electrochemistry of cymanquine and related complexes” [J. Organomet. Chem. 817 (15 August 2016) 15–20]. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 836-83 . pp. 100 ISSN: 0022-328X (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jorganchem.2017.03.029).

Zaitsev, Kirill V. , Tafeenko, Viktor A., Oprunenko, Yuri F., Kharcheva, Anastasia V. , Zhanabil, Zhaisan , Suleimen, Yerlan , Lam, Kevin , Zaitsev, Vladimir B. , Zaitseva, Anna V. , Zaitseva, Galina S. (2017), Molecular oligogermanes and related compounds: Structure, optical and semiconductor properties. Wiley. In: , , , . Wiley, Chemistry - An Asian Journal, 12 (11) . pp. 1240-1249 ISSN: 1861-4728 (Print), 1861-471X (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/asia.201700151).

Zaitsev, Kirill V. , Lam, Kevin, Zhanabil, Zhaisan, Suleimen, Yerlan , Kharcheva, Anastasia V. , Tafeenko, Viktor A. , Oprunenko, Yuri F. , Poleshchuk, Oleg Kh. , Lermontova, Elmira Kh. , Churakov, Andrei V. (2016), Oligogermanes containing only electron-withdrawing substituents: Synthesis and properties. American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Organometallics, 36 (2) . pp. 298-309 ISSN: 0276-7333 (Print), 1520-6041 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.organomet.6b00767).

Dickie, Diane A. , Chacon, Brittany E., Issabekov, Alibek, Lam, Kevin , Kemp, Richard A. (2016), Nickel(II) and nickel(0) complexes of bis(diisopropylphosphino)amine: Synthesis, structure, and electrochemical activity. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Inorganica Chimica Acta, 453 . pp. 42-50 ISSN: 0020-1693 (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ica.2016.07.048).

Lam, Kevin and , Geiger, William E. (2016), Synthesis and anodic electrochemistry of cymanquine and related complexes. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 817 . pp. 15-20 ISSN: 0022-328X (Print), (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jorganchem.2016.05.009).

Sheridan, Matthew V. , Lam, Kevin, Sharafi, Mona, Schneebeli, Severin T. , Geiger, William E. (2016), Anodic methods for covalent attachment of ethynylferrocenes to electrode surfaces: Comparison of ethynyl activation processes. American Chemical Society. In: , , , . American Chemical Society, Langmuir, 32 (6) . pp. 1645-1657 ISSN: 0743-7463 (Print), 1520-5827 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.langmuir.6b00012) NB Item availability restricted.

Stewart, Michael P. , Lam, Kevin, Chong, Daesung, Geiger, William E. (2015), Electron-transfer catalyzed cycloaddition reactions of unactivated cyclic olefins in weakly coordinating anion electrolyte. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 743 . pp. 68-77 ISSN: 1572-6657 (Print), 1873-2569 (Online) (doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jelechem.2015.02.001).

Book section

Lam, Kevin and , Geiger, William E. (2015), Influence of molecular and medium effects on two-electron processes. CRC Press. In: , , In: Ole Hammerich, Bernd Speiser (eds.), Organic Electrochemistr. CRC Press, (5th) . pp. 395-431 . ISBN: 9781420084016 (doi: https://doi.org/10.1201/b19122-15) NB Item availability restricted.

Conference item

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential!. In: Automated Synthesis Forum, 18 - 19 Nov 2019, University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - a new tool for organic synthesis. In: Lecture at the Ecole nationale supérieure (Paris), , Paris, France , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential!. In: Lecture at the University of Sussex, , Falmer, Sussex, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential. In: Polytechnique Paris, , Paris, France , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential. In: Loughborough University Lecture Cycle, , Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis for industrial applications. In: Johnson and Johnson, , Val de Reuil, France , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential. In: Electrosynthesis Day at the Scripps Institute, 29 Aug 2019, Scripps Institute, La Jolla CA, USA , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis for drug discovery. In: Vernalis, , Cambridge, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis - your chemistry has got potential. In: French Chemical Society Thematic Day, , ENSI Caen, Caen France , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis for drug discovery. In: GSK, , Stevenage, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrochemical activation of carboxylic acids. In: 24th Lakeland Symposium (Grasmere) 2019, 09 - 13 May 2019, Ambleside, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Electrosynthesis as a tool for organic synthesis. In: Minakem, , Lille, France , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2019), Oxidation of carboxylic acids – new tricks for an old reaction. In: RSC Organic Division London & SE Regional Meeting 2019, 13 Feb 2019, Chatham Maritime, UK , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Electrifying Medicinal Chemistry. In: Presentation, , University of Gent (UGent) , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Medicinal Electrochemistry - Merging the Fields. In: Presentation, 28 - 30 June 2018, Catholic University of Leuven (KUL) , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Electrochemistry, Organometallics & Medicinal Chemistry An “out of the box” Approach to Drug Design. In: Nazarbayev University - American Chemical Society Chapter, , Astana , . , (doi: ).

Lam, Kevin and , (2018), Anodic Activation of Aromatic Acids - A New Twist for the Kolbe Reaction. In: Nazarbayev University Chemistry Department, , Astana , . , (doi: ).

Patent