Professor Jim Iley | Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professor Jim Iley

Professor Jim Iley

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • School of Life, Health & Chemical Sciences
  • jim.iley

Professional biography

I re-joined the Open University in August 2014 to lead the development of one of the new Level 1 science modules, S112. Outside my OU role I currently sit on the Institute for Apprenticeships Quality Assurance Committee.

From 2010 till 2014, I was Executive Director for Science and Education for the Royal Society of Chemistry, and oversaw the development of the science, education and industry strategies. I am proud to have initiated the development of the award winning site, LearnChemistry Between 2012 and 2014 I sat on the board of SusChem, the European Technology Platform for sustainable chemistry, holding responsibility for education.

Before 2010, I spent a little over 30 years with the OU as a member of the Chemistry & Analytical Sciences Department, first as a lecturer, then senior lecturer and latterly as professor. From 2005 to 2008 I was Associate Dean in the Science Faculty for Course Production and from 2008-2010 was Head of the Chemistry & Analytical Sciences Department .

My research activity has been in the area of molecules of biological interest, on which I collaborated with colleagues at the Faculdade de Farmacia, Lisboa, Portugal for 30 years. In recognition for my work in helping to establish a medicinal chemistry research centre, in 2005 I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Universidade de Lisboa.

I studied for both my first degree (BSc, 1976) and doctorate (PhD, 1979)  at Imperial College, London. My PhD thesis, on the reaction mechanisms of amides, phosphylamides and sulfonamides, was supervised by Brian Challis.

Research interests

My most recent research has focused on :

  • The metabolism of exogenous compounds by cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenase and related chemical systems; in particular, dialkyltriazenes – molecules that chemotherapeutic agents – and dialkylamides, N-alkylureas and nitriles – materials that are used in large scale as solvents
  • The chemistry of pro-drugs;  acyloxyalkyl-, aminoacyl-, dipeptidyl-, cysteinylmethyl-, and glycosylmethyl- carrier group systems for nitrogen- and oxygen-based functional groups, such as amines, amides, sulfonamides, triazenes, carboxylic acids
  • The design and synthesis of novel amino acids with functional side-chains, paricularly the synthesis of amino acids that carry a nucleic acid base in their side-chain .

Some publications related to my research interests are:  

  1. N-Acyl and N-sulfonyloxazolidine-2,4-diones are pseudo-irreversible inhibitors of serine proteases, A B Santana, S D Lucas, L M Goncalves, H F Correia, T A F Cardote, R C Guedes, J Iley, R Moreira, Bioorg. Med. Chem Lett., 2012, 22, 3993-3997
  2. Aldol elaboration of 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo[4,3-c]pyridin-4-ones, masked precursors to acylpyridones, R C F Jones, A K Choudhury, J N Iley, M E Light, G Loizou, T A Pillainayagam, Beilstein J. Org. Chem., 2012, 8, 308-312
  3. A carbamate-based approach to primaquine prodrugs: Antimalarial activity, chemical stability and enzymatic activation, G Mata, V E do Rosario, J Iley, L Constantino, R Moreira, Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2012, 20, 886-892
  4. A new 3-(ethoxycarbonylmethyl)isoxazolopyridone as a precursor to acylpyridones, R C F Jones, J N Iley, G Loizou, Heterocycles, 2012, 84,1235-1244
  5. Synthesis, stability, biochemical and pharmacokinetic properties of a new potent and selective 4-oxo-beta beta-lactam inhibitor of human leukocyte elastase, J Mulchande, S I Simões, M M Gaspar, C V Eleuterio, R Oliveira, M E M Cruz, R Moreira, J Iley, J. Enz. Inhibit. Med. Chem., 2011, 26,169-175
  6. Basic hydrolysis of quinolinyl N,N-dimethylcarbamates: a two-step mechanism, D Silva, F Norberto, S Santos, J Iley, J. Phys. Org. Chem., 2011, 24, 1081-1087
  7. Imidazolium ylides from a conjugate addition-proton transfer route and their cycloaddition reactions, R C F Jones, J N Iley, M Sanchis-Amat, X H Zhang, V McKee, S J Coles, T Gelbrich, Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 7965-7967
  8. Novel heterocyclic alpha-amino acids with sulfur-containing side-chains, R C F Jones, L J Crumpling, J N Iley, ARKIVOC, 2011,82-103
  9. Dopamine- and tyramine-based derivatives of triazenes. Activation by tyrosinase and implications for prodrug design, M J Perry, E Mendes, A L Simplício, A Coelho, J Iley, R Moreira, and A P Francisco, Eur. J Med. Chem. 2009, 44, 3228–3234
  10. Towards an efficient prodrug of the alkylating metabolite monomethyltriazene: synthesis and stability of N-acylamino acid derivatives of triazenes, M J Perry, E Carvalho, E Rosa and J Iley,  Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2009, 44, 1049-1056


Teaching interests

These lie in the fields of organic, medicinal and biological chemistry. I have taught from first year undergraduate through to doctoral training courses, and have devised and developed distance learning materials for:

  • the strategy of organic synthesis;
  • carbonyl chemistry;
  • oxidation and reduction;
  • biosynthesis;
  • energy transformations in biological systems;
  • drug development and synthesis;
  • GABA, benzodiazepines and barbiturates;
  • ß-lactams;
  • cancer chemotherapy;
  • inflammation;
  • drugs that target enzyme/receptor binding;
  • ion channels and drugs that target ion channels

I am currently interested in developing electronic and online media for learning. At undergraduate level I have developed an interactive DVD sequence on The Interpretation of 1H-NMR Spectra, and at Masters Level have used forums to develop a Virtual Weekend school. I am particularly attracted to the use of problem based learning in the science curriculum, and wish to explore ways in which this approach can be incorporated into the distance learning environment.


Meet our Academics

Head and shoulders of male OU academic

In addition to teaching on Open University modules our academics are engaged in ground breaking research that benefits individuals and society.

Request your prospectus

Request a prospectus icon

Explore our qualifications and courses by requesting one of our prospectuses today.

Request prospectus

Are you already an OU student?

Go to StudentHome