Research Synopsis


The broad goals of our bioorganic chemistry program are to design and synthesize small molecules with desired biological activities and understand their structure activity relationships

Over the last ten years we have embarked on two main programs, both of which are NIH funded. The first program includes the synthesis and study of enzyme inhibitors in the trehalose utilization pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). Mtb is the infectious etiological agent of tuberculosis (TB). Mtb is estimated to infect up to one third of the world’s population, of those people about eight million develop an active infection. About 1.4 million people die of TB every year. Further, extensively drug resistant strains of Mtb have emerged making many cases of TB difficult, if not impossible, to treat. Thus, there is an urgent need to discover small molecule probes that can be used to study essential enzymes in Mtb. Our studies may lead to therapies to treat TB. The second program involves the use of protein-carbohydrate interactions to generate improved immunotherapeutics. Vaccines can be improved by directing weak antigens, for example, tumor associated-antigens (TAA), to antigen presetting cells (APCs) in order to generate an immune-based antitumor effect. This work many lead to improved treatments for cancer.



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