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Natural Products Chemistry

A more detailed understanding of molecules present in human cells and tissues, the regulation of these molecules and their interactions with associated proteins is necessary. A key approach toward this more comprehensive understanding of human disease is to identify novel molecular tools for studying the biological macromolecules associated with them. The study of natural products offers an excellent strategy toward identifying novel biological probes for a number of diseases. Historically, natural products have played an important role in the development of pharmaceutical drugs for a number of diseases including cancer and infection. However, natural products also have the potential to identify novel agents for other complex CNS disorders such as anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, it is relatively rare for natural products to have sufficiently attractive absorption, disposition, metabolism and excretion properties despite their attractive potency and selectivity.

The Department of Medicinal Chemistry offers studies with a concentration in Natural Products Chemistry. Research in natural products encompasses the exploration of biodiversity for novel drug lead discovery, isolation and structure determination of organic natural products of medicinal significance from plants and microbes, studies on the structure and biochemistry of biological products, examination of the biosynthesis of natural products, and evaluation of the biochemical effects of these active constituents. Furthermore, the semi- or total synthetic chemistry of pharmacologically active natural products is also pursued.

Individual faculty profiles should be consulted for their specific areas of research interest.

Faculty involved in Natural Products Chemistry

  • Dr. Thomas E. Prisinzano
  • Dr. Barbara N. Timmermann

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