Len Luyt


Contact Information

Title: Professor
Office: ChB Rm 214,
Lab: A4-817 LRCP
Phone (Office): 519-685-8600 ext 53302
Phone (Lab): 519-685-8600 ext 53299
E-mail: lluyt@uwo.ca

Organic Teaching Division

Chemical Biology and Biomaterials

Organic, medicinal and radiopharmaceutical chemistry

Group Website


B.Sc.(Eng.), Queen’s University; Ph.D., The University of Western Ontario; PDF, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Innovator of the Year, Vanguard Awards (WorlDiscoveries)
  • Early Researcher Award


Our research program involves the design, preparation, and evaluation of new compounds for the imaging and treatment of cancer. Many cancer tumours have an abundance of peptide receptors located on the surface of the tumour cells, mostly belonging to the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily. By using the peptides that normally bind to these receptors as the starting point, we are designing variations of these compounds such that they will contain a radioactive component, yet still bind to the intended peptide receptor, and have appropriate in vivo behaviour. Thus, a radioactive peptide-like compound will be injected into a patient, will localize in the cancer tumour, and using an external camera an image of the tumour will be viewed. This approach also has potential use as a method of treatment for cancer.

As part of this program of creating new cancer imaging and therapeutic agents, new chemical methods and technologies for the preparation of these novel compounds are being developed. While radiopharmaceuticals are a primary focus of our research, our group is also pursuing probes for other molecular imaging modalities (such as optical imaging), and small molecule cancer therapeutics. Students involved in research in our group acquire synthetic organic chemistry, solid-phase organic chemistry, peptide/peptidomimetic design, bioconjugation, and radiolabelling skills. This research requires interaction with cancer and imaging scientists and group members are able to take projects from the basic chemistry stage through to animal model studies.


  • 2223B Organic Chemistry of Biological Molecules
  • 3393B Medicinal Chemistry
  • 4493B Chemistry of Biological Macromolecules
  • 9713 Advanced Medicinal Chemistry
  • 9793 Biomolecules as Drugs and Imaging Agents


  • LeSarge, JC; Thibeault, P; Yu, L; Childs, MD; Mirka, VM, Qi, Q; Fox, MS; Kovacs, MS; Ramachandran, R; Luyt, LG. Protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2)-targeting peptide derivatives for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. Eur. J. Med. Chem. 246, 114989, 2023. DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2022.114989
  • Childs, MD; Yu, L; Kovacs, MS; Luyt LG. Radiofluorination of Non-activated Aromatic Prosthetic Groups for Synthesis and Evaluation of Fluorine-18 Labelled Ghrelin(1-8) Analogues. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2021. DOI: 10.1039/D1OB01023A
  • Murrell, E; Luyt, LG. Incorporation of Fluorine into an OBOC Peptide Library by Copper-Free Click Chemistry toward the Discovery of PET Imaging Agents. ACS Combinatorial Science 22 (3), 109-113, 2020. DOI: 10.1021/acscombsci.9b00146\
  • Turnbull, WL; Murrell, E; Bulcan-Gnirss, M; Luyt, LG. A Study of 99mTc/Re-Tricarbonyl Complexes of 4-Amino-1,8-Naphthalimides. Dalton Transactions 48, 14077 – 14084, 2019. DOI: 10.1039/C9DT01752F
  • Hou, J-Q; Kovacs, M; Dhanvantari, S; Luyt, LG. Development of Candidates for PET Imaging of Ghrelin Receptor in Disease: Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of Fluorine bearing Quinazolinone Derivatives. J. Med. Chem. 61(3), 1261-1275, 2018. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.7b01754