Dr Lawrence Harris

Dr Lawrence Harris profile picture

Science Team Leader Ferrier Research Institute


DRDG403 Drug Development

Lawrence teaches pharmaceutical analytical chemistry as part of the Master of Drug Discovery and Development.


Dr Lawrence Harris completed his PhD in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Oxford in 2009 before moving to Wellington to join Ferrier Research Institute.

Over the past decade Lawrence has worked on a range of projects, most notably the development of new methodology for an aminohydroxylation reaction that was a problematic step in the synthesis of allosamidin, a complex molecule made up of three sugar units. The new methodolgy was published as a feature article in the Journal of Organic Chemistry and is the basis of two provisional patent applications.

As a Science Team Leader, Lawrence is leading a number of current research projects developing enzyme inhibitors as potential antibiotics, and anti-viral targets, including a collaboration with the Albert Einstein Institute which is investigating new inhibitors based on naturally occurring ribonucleotides.

"The Ferrier Research Institute is an exciting place to be undertaking chemistry research, their reputation is really strong internationally and that's led to opportunities to work with world-leading researchers at other institutes through collaborations with places like the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Texas A&M University."

In 2012 Lawrence spent a three month sabbatical at the University of Cambridge in the laboratories of Professor Steven Ley to upskill in flow chemistry. Having become familiar with the equipment and techniques used, he established a flow chemistry capability at the Ferrier Research Institute.

As a self-described "hardcore synthetic organic chemist by training" while working at Ferrier, Lawrence has enjoyed the challenge of designing new targets for medicines which has involved, "difficult synthesis and creativity required to develop novel chemical methodologies."

"It's interesting work in itself, but it's also really satisfying and motivating to know that it could lead to a new drug or treatment that could have a real impact on someone's quality of life."

Postgraduate supervision

In addition to research, Lawrence supervises a number of thesis research and summer scholarship students and is open to receiving expressions of interest from prospective research students seeking supervision for research related to developing methodologies to synthesise inhibitors or development of enzyme inhibitors and inactivators.


View Lawrence's publications on Google Scholar.