|Professor Spencer received his undergraduate education at Amherst College and his graduate education at the University of Wisconsin, from which he received his Ph.D. degree in 1960. He has taught at Dartmouth since that time, becoming New Hampshire Professor of Chemistry in 1972. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow during 1965-68 and served as Department Chairman from 1969-1973. Over the years his research interests have broadened from pure in organic synthesis to include several areas of bioorganic chemistry, such as enzyme model systems and inhibitors, oxysterol regulation of cholesterol metabolism, and photoaffinity labeling analogs of cholesterol and phosolipids. He is currently a Research Professor of Chemistry.|
Position: Professor of Chemistry Emeritus
E-Mail: Thomas A. Spencer
Professor Spencer has research interests in a number of areas of organic and bioorganic chemistry. All of these projects have involved organic synthesis; some involve, in addition, various biochemical experiments in collaboration with other laboratories or computational studies. Recent emphasis has been on several aspects of steroid chemistry and biochemistry. The discovery that 24(S),25-epoxycholesterol is present in normal cells has led to extensive investigations of the roles of this and other oxysterols in regulation of cholesterol metabolism, for example as ligands for the LXR nuclear receptor. Another recent project in this area has been the design and synthesis of photoactivatable analogs of cholesterol and phospholipids for use in covalent labeling of proteins involved in reverse cholesterol transport and HDL formation, in order to gain greater understanding of these physiologically important processes. An ongoing interest in the mechanisms of action of enzymes involved in cholesterol biosynthesis, particularly squalene synthase, has led to an investigation of how biochemical carbocation intermediates can be stabilized by pi complexation with aromatic side chain amino acid residues of enzymes. This project has been pursued both computationally and experimentally in model systems (in collaboration with R. Ditchfield).
Last Updated: 8/19/11