DR Wilfred L. F. Armarego

BSc (Lond), PhD,(Lond), DSc (Lond), FRSC, FRACI, C.Chem. AM.
Visiting Fellow
ANU College of Health and Medicine
T: +612 6281 3652; mobile 043 999 4514

Areas of expertise

  • Enzymes 060107
  • Biochemistry And Cell Biology 0601
  • Organic Chemistry 0305
  • Medical Biochemistry: Amino Acids And Metabolites 110101
  • Medical Biochemistry: Proteins And Peptides (Incl. Medical Proteomics) 110106
  • Medical Biochemistry: Nucleic Acids 110105
  • Medicinal And Biomolecular Chemistry 0304
  • Cell Metabolism 060104
  • Metabolic Medicine 110107

Research interests

(a) Studies of dihydropteridine reductase (DHPR) from human and other sources.  The human enzyme is involved in a malignant form of phenylketonuria, an inherited metabolic disorder.  The studies include, enzyme kinetic studies, mechanism, expression in bacteria, mutant enzymes by site-directed mutagenesis of the gene, partial sequencing of the genomic DNA (upstream region), gene replacement in fibroblasts and studies towards preparing a DHPR 'knockout mouse' as a model for the disease for gene replacement.

(b) Studies of glyceryl-ether monooxygenase: enzyme kinetics of substrates and inhibitors, effects of detergents, dissociation from lipid membrane, purification and reconstitution, structure of the active site; relationship with enzymes of ether lipid disorders.

(c) Organic syntheses of heterocyclic compounds including cofactors, substrates, inhibitors and activators of the above enzymes, as well as relevant detergents and related lipids.



BORN in Alexandria, Egypt on 23 April 1931.  

NATIONALITY: Born British and Citizen of the United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland until 1978 when became a naturalised Australian.  Arrived in Australia (Fremantle) from London in August 1956.

ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS: Attended British Boys’ School (Alexandria), University of London Matriculation (1949), then Farouk 1st University as a ‘Free Auditor”, and awarded ‘Intermediate BSc of the University of London (Externally from Alexandria, Egypt) in 1951 in Chemistry Physics and Biology. B.Sc. (Special Chemistry Hons, External), 1953, University of London.  Ph.D.  (Organic Chemistry, Internal at Bedford College), 1956, University of London (Supervisor: Prof E.E.Turner FRS). D.Sc. (Heterocyclic Chemistry), 1968, University of London. 

CURRENT APPOINTMENT:  Visiting Fellow (JCSMR) ANU from January 1997. 

PREVIOUS APPOINTMENTS: Fellow (JCSMR) ANU: July 1963 - June 1967; Senior Fellow (JCSMR) ANU:  July 1967 – December 1996; Research Fellow (JCSMR) ANU: Jan 1960 - June 1963. Senior Demonstrator (Department of Chemistry) University of Melbourne: Oct 1958 - Dec 1959. Research Scientist ICI ANZ (Central Research Laboratories) Melbourne: Sept 1956 - Sept 1958.  

AWARDS: University of London Postgraduate Studentship Award (1955).  Archibald D. Ole Prize of the RACI (1968).  Diamond Professional Award, Distinguished Member 2014., All.PRO media group; Worldwide WHO'SWHO 2014 Professional of the Year, representing Medical Education and Research.   Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2019 New Year Honours List for significant service to Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

MEMBERSHIP OF SOCIETIES: FCS London (1953); ARIC (1955), FRIC, FRSC (1963); ARACI (1956), FRACI (1972); C. Chem.; Member of ASBMB (1983-); Member of the Internat. Soc. Het Chem. (1980-1997); Member of the International Society of Pteridinology (1989-). 

EDITORIAL BOARDS: Foundation editor of 'Medicinal Research Reviews' (1981-) and of the Journal 'Pteridines' (1989-). 

Researcher's projects

Research Fellows:  Dr Suresh.C. Sharma (Syntheses of unique heterocycles)    1968-1971

Dr William. Pendergast (Syntheses of chiral amino acids)   1973-1976

Dr Paul. Waring (Absolute configuration of pterin cofactors) 1979-1985

Dr David. Randles (Mechanism of action of Dihydropteridine Reductase)  1981-1986

 Postdoctora Fellows:                    

 Dr Herman. Traub (Studies of tetrahydrofolic acid)   1987-1989

 Dr C.M.Hardy (Isolation of  human dihydropteridine Reductase gene) 1989-1991

 Dr Nan.Yang (Preparation of human dihydropteridine Reductase mutants by site-directed mutagenesis of the gene)     1992-1995

Visiting Fellows:  

 Dr Irmgard. Ziegler, Münich University, (Studies of pterin bound a-1-Acid Glycoproteins accumulated in the blood of patients with malignant disease)  1981  (4 months) 

Prof. Hiroyasu. Taguchi,  Kyoto Womens University,  (Syntheses of chiral tetrahydrobiopterins and chiral glyceryl-ether substrates, and the mechanism of oxygen transfer at the active site of glyceryl-ether mnooxygenase) 1982-1983, 1985 (July-Sept. 2 months), 1986 (Jan-April 3 months),1992 (12 months), 1994 (July-Oct)

Prof. Thomas.J. Delia, Central Michigan University, (Studies of folic acid and derivatives) 1982-1983

Dr Simon. Antoulas. Univ. of Zürich, (Studies of reduced folic acid and derivatives) 1983 (3 months)

Prof. Sadao. Matsuura, Nagoya University, (Syntheses of reduced biopterin derivatives to map the active site of Dihydropteridine Reductase) 1987 (July-Sept. 3 months)

Dr S. Jaireth (Metabolism of reduced biopterins in vivo in mice (1987, 12 months)

CURRENT PROJECT:  Carrying out reseach (lostly literature work) to update and enlarge the 7th edition of the book: Purification of Laboratory Chemicals (Elsevier, 2013) which I was written with my coauthor Dr Christina L.L. Chai. 


Available student projects

Have no students currently.

Current student projects

Have no students currently.

Past student projects

Ph.D. Scholars:

 John.I.C. Smith 1963-1966 (Physical and Chemical Studies in the Quinazoline Series)  

 Toshihiko. Kobayashi 1967-1970 (Synthesis, Properties and Stereochmistry of Reduced Quinazolines related to Tetrodotoxin and Saxitoxin)  

 Phillip.A. Reece  1973-1976 (Studies of Simple Analogues of Tetrodotoxin and Saxitoxin)                

 Henning. Schou 1975-1978 (Studies of Reduced Pterins and Related Compounds)                   

 Peter.G. Tucker 1976-1979 (Studies towards the syntheses of the neurotoxins Tetrodotoxin and Saxitoxin)

 Miss A. Ohnishi 1984-1986 (Studies of the Structure of the Active Site of Dihydropteridine Reductase from Homan Brain)

Subhash. G. Vesudevan 1985-1988 (Studies on Dihydropteridine Reductase)

Mrs Behjat. Kosar-Hashemi 1988-1993 (Studies on Glyceryl-Ether monooxygenase)

M.Sc. Scholar:    Mrs Hong-Ping. Zhang 1994-1995 (In vitro Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Human Dihydropteridine Reductase and Enzyme Kinetics of the Expressed Enzymes)

 B.Sc.Hons Student:  Holger. Averdunk 1991-1992 (Studies on Wild-type and Cysteine  Serine    Mutants of Human Dihydropteridine Reductase)


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