Research is focused on rapidly constructing biologically relevant scaffolds as potential pharmaceutical leads. Two complementary research areas comprise most of the research effort: the use of metalated nitriles as potent nucleophiles for hindered bond construction, and the use of metalated isocyanides as precursors to peptide mimics. The research has been primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Fraser Fleming earned his BS (Hons.) at Massey University, New Zealand, in 1986 and a PhD under the direction of Edward Piers at the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 1990. After postdoctoral research with James D. White at Oregon State University he joined the faculty at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, in 1992. In 2013 he took a temporary position as a program director at the National Science Foundation working in the Synthesis Program and the Catalysis Program. His research interests lie in stereochemistry and organometallics, particularly as applied to the reactions of nitriles and isonitriles.