Current research


The research of the Leung research group lies broadly at the interface between chemistry and biology. We aim to utilise our knowledge in protein structure and enzyme mechanism to help solve some of the world’s most urgent challenges. Our research is multidisciplinary, drawing on the fields of chemistry, biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, enzymology, molecular biology and structural biology.

Theme 1: Human health and diseases

(a) Infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance: Our research tackles the underlying mechanisms that are important for the survival of bacteria, enabling new inhibition targets for the development of new antibiotic agents.

Representative research output: Nat. Commun. 2019, 10. 4639.

(b) Genetic disorders: Our work aims to understand how genetic mutations may influence the structure and function of proteins and enzymes, establishing the relationship between molecular dysfunctions/dysregulations and the diseases that these mutations may cause.

Representative research output: Chem. Commun. 2020, 56, 7857–7860.

(c) Cancers: We study molecular chaperones and DNA repair enzymes with an aim to develop new anti-cancer agents and chemosensitizers to overcome resistance and enhancing the effect of chemotherapy treatments.

Representative research output: Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20, 5333; Oncol. Ther. 2021, 9, 541–556.

Theme 2: Towards a more sustainable world

(a) Plant enzymes: We study plant enzymes that modulate ripening and browning with the long term goal to develop new strategies to regulate these processes in order to reduce unnecessary waste of fresh produce.

Representative research output: ChemistrySelect 2017, 2, 10435–10441.

(b) Enzyme technology: We utilise and optimise oxidative enzymes to degrade environmental pollutants. Our goal is to develop new biocatalysts for practical use in bioremediation.

Representative research output: Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 2021, 190, 574–584; Front. Chem. 2021, 9, 711345.

Theme 3: Improving methodologies in biochemical research

(a) Biophysical assays: We develop and optimise biophysical techniques such as NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to measure and quantify protein-ligand interactions and enzyme catalysis.

Representative research output: Sci. Rep. 2017, 7, 43727; Anal. Methods 2021, 13, 491–496..

(b) Recombinant protein production and purification: We develop new strategies to improve the production and purification of recombinant proteins.

Representative research output: Sci. Rep. 2019, 9, 8884; IUBMB Life 2020, 72, 266–274.