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Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry faculty group photo

Ryan Altman

We are synthetic organic chemists with three predominant interests: (1) Developing innovative synthetic organic reactions for accessing therapeutically relevant drug-like compounds; (2) Exploring physicochemical and biophysical perturbations imparted by fluorinated functional groups and applying these groups towards drug design, and (3) Providing medicinal chemistry support for pharmacological collaborators. In the final area, we actively collaborate with pharmacological and biochemistry experts to develop agents for treating pain, mood and anxiety disorders, aging, and inflammation.

Jean Chmielewski

Professor Jean Chmielewski’s research is at the interface of organic chemistry and biology. Her research group designs and synthesizes novel therapies for diseases, such as bacterial infections, HIV and malaria, and also develops unique biomaterials for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering applications. Graduate students in her group gain expertise in all aspects of the synthesis and testing of their designed agents.

Mingji Dai

The goal of our research program is to innovate in both the strategy and methodology of chemical synthesis, and apply them to solve problems of biological and medical importance and ultimately impact human health. Our current research program focuses on the following areas: (i) development of new synthetic methodology to rapidly build structural complexity, (ii) total synthesis and biological evaluations of natural products, (iii) optimization of lead compounds for the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and CNS disorders, and (iv) design and synthesize Raman probe molecules for live cell and In vivo real time imaging.

Arun Ghosh

My research group is involved in multidisciplinary research projects in the areas of synthetic organic, bioorganic and medicinal chemistry. Of particular interest, we are investigating:

  • Chemical Synthesis and biological studies of Natural Products with medicinal potential
  • Design and synthesis of Molecular Probes for Bioactive Peptides and Proteins
  • Structure-based Design of Enzyme Inhibitors for Alzheimer's Disease and AIDS
  • Development of new Asymmetric methodologies (Catalytic and Stoichiometric)
  • Multicomponent Reactions (MCR) for Highly Functionalized Products

Hilkka Kenttämaa

Design of organic bi- and polyradicals with tailored chemical properties; mass spectrometry methods based on organic reactions for fast metabolite identification in pharmaceutical industry; mechanisms of fast pyrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass for development of renewable biofuels; synthetic protocols and quantum chemical calculations for all above studies.

Mark Lipton

Our group is involved in the design, synthesis and evaluation of small molecules with biological activity.  Current research areas concern the production of novel antimicrobials to target drug-resistant bacterial pathogens, anti-cancer compounds and molecules designed to treat diabetes.

Chengde Mao

The theme of Dr. Mao’s research is DNA supramolecular chemistry. He is developing general and robust approaches to assemble DNA nanostructures/nanomachines. The resulting structures hold great promises in nanomedicine, bioanalytics, biophysics, and other nanodevices.

Jianguo Mei

Our research utilizes the basic principles in chemistry and material science to explore the potentials of π-conjugated materials and polymer composites for flexible and printed electronics, aiming to provide solutions for a sustainable future with clean energy, safe environment and healthy life. The ongoing research is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative, covering various aspects of organic and polymer synthesis, physical characterization and device fabrication with a central theme of establishing relationships between molecular design, synthetic methodology, materials processing and device performance. To transform laboratory ideas into viable technologies that can positively impact our society is also aligned with our interest.

Ei-ichi Negishi

  1. Discovery and development of new transition metal-catalyzed reactions (e.g., Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling and asymmetric catalysis);
  2. and their application to those organic transformations which are of interest in the health- and energy-related areas.

PV Ramachandran

Our group specializes in organoborane and fluoroorganic chemistry, continuously developing novel reagents and reactions to make organic synthesis less challenging.  We apply our novel methodologies for the synthesis of pharmacologicaly active natural products and their analogs.  We also focus on the application of borane-containing molecules in materials chemistry, particularly as renewable energy storage and high energy materials.

Herman Sintim

  1. New anticancer agents targeting G-quadruplexes, PARP enzymes and kinases.
  2. The chemical biology of bacterial communication, virulence factors production and biofilm formation (quorum sensing and c-di-GMP/c-di-AMP signaling in bacteria).
  3. Small molecules that perturb host-bacterial pathogen interaction. 

David Thompson

Research efforts in David H. Thompson’s Group are focused on the design, synthesis and performance testing of purpose-designed materials that address challenging problems in targeted drug delivery for lysosomal storage disorder therapeutics and protein structure determination by cryoEM. These projects often employ a wide variety of physical, biochemical and biology characterization methods and, in some cases, involve the development of continuous processing methods for the synthesis of small molecules and self-assembling materials. 

Chris Uyeda

Our research program aims to develop new transition metal platforms for catalysis and to apply those systems to advance broadly useful synthetic methods.  Our recent efforts have led to the identification of binucleating pincer ligands that stabilize low-coordinate bonds between first row transition metals. Using these systems, we are currently studying dinuclear catalytic processes including alkene hydrofunctionalizations, cycloadditions, nitrene insertions, reductive carbene transfer reactions, and carbon–carbon bond activations.

Alexander Wei

Projects in the Wei group are driven by the creation of functional materials, new methods for creating materials, and creative reasons for doing both. All projects are powered by the twin engines of synthesis and surface chemistry. Project themes include: (1) Novel methods for green chemistry and sustainable synthesis; (2) Multifunctional nanomaterials and drug delivery; (3) Cost-effective sensors for chemical and biological detection; and (4) Continuous synthesis and manufacturing processes.

Paul Wenthold

Study of the structure and reactivity of organic molecules using mass spectrometry and ion spectroscopy.  Investigation of reactive intermediates and biological molecules in the gas phase.

Zhong-Yin Zhang

Structure- and fragment-based design, synthesis, and characterization of protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) inhibitors and activity probes; application of these chemical tool compounds for functional interrogation of PTPs in complex signal transduction pathways, proof-of-concept target validation, and therapeutic development for cancer, diabetes/obesity, autoimmune disorders and infectious diseases.