Summary: Broadly, my research group focuses on synthetic chemistry; making the molecules of tomorrow…today. We challenge ourselves in both the complexity of the molecule or the methodology we need to develop to get us there. Currently the projects that we have ongoing are: 1) The synthesis of C-linked glycoside natural products and their potential as immunostimulants; 2) The synthesis of flavone derivatives as medicinal agents and metal coordination complexes; 3) The purification of materials (including pharmaceuticals) from trace catalysts leftover in manufacturing through heterogeneous extraction using redox-active ligands; 4) Stimuli-reactive thin-film polymers for the autonomous concentration and detection of analytes. The polymer projects encompass both the making of new monomers and the forming of thin-film polymers on glass, silica or CNT surfaces. All of these projects fall under the umbrella of synthesis. Saving the world… one molecule at a time.

Minimum Classes: N/A


Project 1) Synthesis of C-linked cyanogenic glycoside (-)-Dhurrin: Dhurrin is a natural product found in cassava and almonds. Dhurrin is made by the plant to thwart pests from consumption. When ingested or in the presence of a glucosidase enzyme – Dhurrin will break apart into cyanohydrin which will in turn create benzaldehyde and HCN. The HCN is toxic to humans and to bugs thus stopping the pests from eating the plant. As HCN is toxic Dhurrin has never been tested for medicinal value. Sugar subunits are crucial for immunostimulation but few drugs contain them due to their labile “O” hemiacetal connection. This project entails the enantioselective synthesis of (C)-Dhurrin.

Project 2) Synthesis of a C-linked Serine galactosamine for incorporation into a Mucin7 peptide repeat. The Muc7 protein is a highly glycosylated salivary protein capable of recognizing various bacteria for agglutination and removal. This project will entail the building of various C-linked serine glycosides to solidify the sugar backbone and allow for further glycosylation at varying locations on the 21-mer polypeptide.

Project 3) Synthesis of Redox Active Ligands for purification of Pharmaceuticals – Our lab has been extensively studying the Arylazothioformamide (ATF) class of redox active ligands in their coordination to transition metals. This project will look into the purification of a variety of OTC medications and the amount and characterization of trace metals left behind along with the extraction of those metals using this unique ligand class.

Project 4) Synthesis of functionalized CNT surfaces for the detection of analytes. Calcium depletion is a major hurdle for extended space missions. To monitor the calcium levels astronauts will need to be able to create their own electrodes in space. This project will focus on the creation of and printing of CNT based functional ink to serve as a detector of calcium levels on a wearable flexible electrode.

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