In our laboratory, we seek to use compounds isolated from nature, or natural products, for drug discovery and the development of dietary supplements. We blend the science of medicinal chemistry and synthetic organic chemistry through the use of natural products chemistry, natural product synthesis, and the design of structural analogues for structure-activity investigations. We are also developing novel synthetic methods to modify complex organic molecules and to install fluorine.
Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products
We aim to design drugs for patients with diseases that have no or few existing treatment options using natural products as the initial inspiration for discovery. We are actively studying natural products and novel structures for use in drug-resistant cancers, neurodegenerative disorders, addiction and addiction-related behavior, and other disease-states. The direct modification of the structure of natural products is the strategy we take to understand the relationships between the molecule and its biological activity.
We are actively developing synthetic methods to enable the direct and efficient modification of complex organic molecules such as natural products, and we are investigating how to cleave bonds in order to remodel compounds. During the course of these studies, we have developed a novel in situ masking strategy for organic functional groups and discovered that the release of trifluoroacetate is a powerful approach to break carbon–carbon bonds. Fluorine chemistry has also become an integral component of our research.
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Our research group also has strong interest in translating discoveries from the laboratory to the private sector and partnering with industry. For example in 2013, our work lead to the invention of an innovative chemical reagent and its commercialization with Sigma-Aldrich.
© 2015 David A. Colby