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Home / Research / Small Molecules,Natural Products,Pharmaceutical Analysis
Small Molecules,Natural Products,Pharmaceutical Analysis

    The Molecular Medicine (Small Molecule Science) Platform is a fusion of medicinal chemistry, natural products chemistry, Traditional Chinese Medicine and pharmaceutical analysis.  While each of these areas has its own identity and interests, the platform concept recognizes that there are many reasons for overlap between the areas, and these overlapping interests represent opportunities for collaborative research, leveraging the strengths of each discipline to build a discovery program that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Modern research is inherently collaborative, so it is essential that we create a research environment that stimulates collaboration among a variety of scientists, allowing our students to learn how best to leverage the skills and knowledge of their colleagues and teachers to help solve their own research problems. 

QQ截图20160413150427.png

    Nature is a rich source of novel molecules possessing complex biological activities.  Most drugs used in Western medicine are either naturally occurring or are based on a natural product.  The natural product chemist typically isolates interesting molecules having a biological activity and then identifies their chemical structure using a variety of spectroscopic and chemical methods.  The medicinal chemist may then take such a lead structure, and synthesize it and related compounds to define the relationship between biological activity and structural features of the molecule.  This structure-activity relationship (SAR) can be further refined via modular or combinatorial synthesis of libraries of closely related compounds, eventually leading to a drug candidate compound.  The integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine into what could be described as a Western drug discovery program is an interesting and exciting opportunity.  Most of the world’s population relies on some form of traditional medicine for their healthcare needs.  While there is ample evidence that many traditional medical practices are effective in treating diseases, many in the West still consider them to be primitive and inferior to Western “modern” medicine.  This misperception stems from the fact that science simply does not understand how or why traditional medicines work.  Using the tools of natural products chemistry and modern analytical chemistry to study TCM will help us to understand the molecular basis of these useful and effective treatments. The Molecular Medicine Platform is a fusion of the various chemical disciplines involved in pharmaceutical research and development.  In order to be a real drug discovery program, we rely on collaborations with the other, more biologically or biochemically focused platforms to develop and explore the pharmacologic targets that make chemistry relevant to treating disease.

  • Juan Wang

    Wang’s research addresses biological engineering studies of traditional Chinese medicine. Producing active compounds of important Chinese medicine through large scale tissue culture. What is more, in order to enhance the contents of active components, regulations of gene function in secondary metabolic pathways of active components are also investigated.

  • Robert P. Borris

    The research of the Borris groups involves a) Validation of traditional medical practices, b) Discovery of novel biologically active natural products, c) Natural products used as dietary supplements, d) Phytochemical systematics, e) Application of NMR spectrometry to the structure determination of natural products, and f) Applications of high performance centrifugal partition chromatography to the isolation of biologically active natural products and other organic compounds.


  • Jon Antilla

    Our group’s focus has been mainly in the development of new catalytic methodology for organic synthesis. Our group is a recognized leader in the area of asymmetric organocatalysis with chiral phosphoric acids. Our methodology in the formation of aminals, in the reduction of imines, desymmetrization of meso-aziridines, and pinnacol rearrangement, for example, have been highly cited extensively (3,679 citations and H-index of 26). Our methods have used in the synthesis of biologically important targets by others, for example: Benjamin List (JACS, 2008, 15786) and Scott Snyder (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 4080. Our aim has been to develop catalytic variants of existing, important reactions, to offer stereochemical control (regioselective, diastereoselective, or enantioselective) and higher efficiency, thus lower the potential costs to make drug targets. As a result we have been considered one of the leading groups in organocatalysis, especially in chiral phosphoric acid based catalysis. Our work has been recognized with a USA National Science Foundation CAREER award, a Thieme Journal Award, and also I was awarded with a JSPS Fellowship to Japan, a great honor. Additionally, part of our work has been to seek “green” alternatives to existing methods, as the use of organocatalysis avoids the employment of potentially toxic metals in an environmentally benign manner.

  • Jianmin Bao

    The research of the Bao group involves 1) development of new analytical technologies, such as (a) wide bore electrophoresis (WBE), which increases sample loading significantly compared to capillary electrophoresis (CE) for better detection and easy interface with MS and other technologies;(b) WBE containing microchip systems; and (c) multi-dimensional separation systems; 2)development of innovative bio/analytical methods such as affinity CE and liquid phase microextraction (LPME) for proteomics and pharmaceutical analysis; 3) development of new separation media including various silica gel, polymeric resin, and even agarose gel based resins and their applications; and 4)new development of miniaturized and high throughput sample preparation techniques, such as fritless SPE, membraneSPE, supported liquid extraction (SLE) and fast protein precipitation, etc. 

     

  • Matthias Bureik

    The research in the Bureik group spans two primary areas: 1) Human drug metabolizing enzymes and 2) investigation of human CYP4Z1 and the treatment of breast cancer. A primary goal in the first area involves systematic testing of all variants of drug metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs or P450s; see left figure below) and UDP glycosyltransferases (UGTs) identified in Chinese patients. This is expected to aid doctors in choosing the correct dosage for patients. In the second area, the group has successfully identified CYP4Z1 to be a fatty acid in-chain hydroxylase. In addition, additional substrates of this enzyme that are both structurally different and far better suited to screening procedures than fatty acids have been identified. A primary aim is to search for compounds that can act as CYP4Z1-activated prodrugs (right figure) and have potential for treatment of breast cancer.

  • Haixia Chen

    The research of the Chen group concerns isolation, identification, bioactivity, and mechanism of constituents from natural resources.  In particular, the group focuses on functional mechanism and structure-activity relationships of macromolecules (polysaccharides and proteins) as well as small biomolecules. Methods are being developed in the group to quantify bioactivity of polysaccharides and small biomolecules from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural resources.  Additionally, the group investigates functional food and new medicine from natural sources.

  • Lei Chen

    The research of the Chen group is focused on synthesis of biomaterials and development of modern separation and analysis technology.  In particular, efforts include a) development of different methods to control the morphology and pore structure of the HPLC stationary phase,  b) investigation into the hydrolysis and condensation mechanism of hybrid silica based materials using MS, and c) exploitation of magnetic separation technology in the purification of biological samples. Additionally, efforts are extended towards chiral analysis of pharmacological compounds, including synthesis of chiral stationary phase of HPLC, and optimization of separation and identification methods in HPLC and LC-MS.

  • Benjamin Clark

    Research in the Clark group focuses on microbial natural products as applied to drug discovery, metabolomics, and chemical ecology. Microbes have long been a source of potent antimicrobial and anticancer agents, and we have a particular interest in marine and extremophilic microbes as a source of new drug leads. We also investigate chemical ecology: what role the metabolites serve for the microbe itself, and how are they involved in the interaction of microbes with other organisms. The group uses metabolic profiling and multivariate statistical techniques in all of these research avenues in order to classify samples, identify active components, and elucidate the interactions of molecules and organisms. While microbes are the primary focus of the group we also have experience working with plants and marine organisms if there are particularly interesting ecological questions to be addressed in these areas. 


  • Jun Dai

    The research efforts of the Dai group encompass two areas:  1) The role of retinoid-related orphan receptor RORα in controlling skin homeostatis, and 2) Control of normal mitosis by protein kinase haspin.  In the first area, the main interest is on the interplay between intra- and inter-cellular signaling pathways involved in control of skin tissue homeostasis and tumor development. Focuses on the role of the nuclear orphan receptor RORα in controlling keratinocyte differentiation and skin tumor formation, as well as the therapeutic potential of RORα agonists/antagonists in treatment of skin diseases.  In the second area, the group is interested in exploring the role of haspin in cancer development and the potential of haspin inhibitors as anti-tumor drugs.

  • Yunfei Du

    The research area of the Du group involves investigation of hypervalent iodine (III) – mediated transformations, including oxidative coupling, rearrangement, cascade reactions, and asymmetric reactions.  Additionally, the group develops metal-free methodology for the constructionof heterocyclic compounds and pharmaceutical agents.

  • Wenyuan Gao

    The research of the Gao group encompasses three main areas, including 1) Production of active constituents by biotechnology in medicinal plants, b) Development of functional products from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural products, and c) Development of new drugs from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural products.

  • Shende Jiang

    The research of the Jiang group includes, a) carbohydrate chemistry with the use of sugars as chiral starting materials in synthesis, b) studies on the shikimic acid and shikimate pathway with particular interests in designing enzyme inhibitors as potential antimicrobial agents against bacterial, fungal and parasitical pathogens, c) process research and development for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and related intermediates in collaboration with industry, and d) development of fluorine-18 labelled radiopharmaceuticals used in Positron Emission Tomography

  • Xia Li

    The research in the group of Li involves investigations into Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM). The emphasis is on the genetic relationship among medicinal plants based on macromolecules, such as starch and polysaccharides, and the development of process techniques for herbal materials. Additionally, the group is involved in the development of functional foods from TCM and their effective constituents. Functional products with throat clearing, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and aperient bowel functions have been developed.

  • Youxin Li

    Li’s research addresses development and application of electrophoresis techniques, chiral separation and applications, sample preparation and application, and high throughput drug screening based on hollow fiber member system development.

  • Hans Lischka

    The research in the group of Lischka involves investigation of defect structures in materials with current applications to: grapheme nanoribbons, excitonic coupling and charge transfer in p-conjugated polymers as applied to photovoltaics, photostability of DNA; development of high-level quantum hemical methods and computer codes in the framework of COLUMBUS; full parallelization of MRCI method including analytic energyg radients and nonadiabatic couplings; onthe-fly nonadiabatic photodynamics (programsystemNEWTON-X) with application to biological systems including QM/MM approach.

  • Mark Olson

    The research in the group of Olson is focused on systems chemistry with emphasis in surface science/surface chemistry and molecular recognition and self-assembly. Focus is on the role of long-range non-covalent interactions and electrostatics in synthetic macromolecules and how these forces affect the thermodynamic equilibrium and kinetics of self-assembly in solution, on surfaces, and at the solvent-nanoparticle interface.  Specific directions include, 1) development of functional information of rich structural motifs and investigation of their performance characteristics in solution as molecular entities, 2) carry over of successful systems into the macromolecular world of polymer scaffolds, colloids, and nanoparticulates, eventually leading to 3) incorporation of these macromolecular components into device setting.

  • Rajavel Srinivasan

    The research in the group of Srinivasan encompasses two main areas, 1) Developing new reaction methodologies: The research topics under this area include bioorthogonal reactions, late-stage modification of advanced chemical entities, C-H activation, and high-throughput amenable synthesis – aiming at advancing the way organic molecules are made for drug discovery and chemical biology applications. 2) Inhibitor discovery based on fragment-based approaches: Design and synthesis of ‘unconventional’ fragments with rich structural diversity. These fragments will be used as a starting point towards novel inhibitors for unexplored biological targets such as the AurB-INCENP interaction.

  • Yanfang Su

    The research in the group of Su encompasses three main areas, including a) Isolation and identification of bioactive natural compounds from medicinal plants, b) Quality control of traditional chinese medicines, 3) Research & development of new medicines of natural origin

  • Andrew C.-H. Sue

    The research in the group of Andrew C.-H. Sue involves the design, synthesis, and characterization of functional molecular materials, using both artificial and natural compounds as molecular building blocks for supramolecular architechtures. The group looks for creative ways of controlling molecular recognition events and crystallographic symmetry by exploiting both covalent bonds and non-covalent interactions. The main goal is the understanding of emergent properties displayed by the final crystal structures in solid state and their use for applications in materials and pharmaceutical sciences.

  • Jian Sun

    The research in the group of Sun involves investigation of B cell development and B cell related diseases. In recent years, immunotherapies with antibodies to depleting B cells are widely used in autoimmune diseases and B cell lymphoma. The strategy in this group is to design cytokine antagonist peptides using computer-aided design, fuse the peptides with human IgG Fc to form peptibodies by gene engineering, and analyze their activity in vitro and in vivo. Several peptibodies inhibiting B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a critical factor for B cell maturation and survival, are currently tested in cell culture and SLE animal models in this lab. Because overexpression of BLyS is involved in pathogenesis and development of autoimmune diseases and B cell malignances, the BLyS antagonists designed and analyzed may be potential therapeutic reagents for these diseases.

  • Zheng Wang

    The research in the group of Wang encompasses four main areas, including 1) Functional polymeric materials (biodegradable polymeric materials, smart polymeric materials such as thermo-sensitive and pH sensitive polymers, dendrimers etc.), 2) Nanotechnology for solubility improvement of water-insoluble drugs, 3) Targeted and controlled drug release systems, and 4) Self-assembled nanostructures for controlled drug release.

  • Donghua Wang

    The research in the group of Wang involves the design, synthesis, and biological activity evaluation of new compounds, with focus on industrialization of generic drugs, intermediates, and fine chemicals.  Specific areas include 1) Design and synthesis of the Rho kinase inhibitor, 2) Design and synthesis of the PDE4 inhibitor, and 3) Design and synthesis of antihistamine drugs

  • Jun Xu

    Jun Xu has the following primary aims:

    To support the projects of the research groups in the SPST by offering a state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography facility.

    To contribute to the study of diffuse scattering and defect structure simulation by developing new and improving existing methods.

    To understand the structure of crystalline materials and the relationships between the structure and properties of these materials.


  • Xuedong Yang

    The research in the group of Yang involves the fields of natural products, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry research focused at the discovery and development of bioactive natural products and their analogs as clinical trials drug candidates.  Work is carried out to understand the relationship between bioactive constituents and therapeutic effects of traditional Chinese medicine. Using basic natural products and medicinal chemistry principles coupled with modern technologies, including new analytical techniques, computational techniques, and mechanism of action or target-based medicinal chemistry research evaluation methods, the group works towards discovery and development of potential therapeutic drugs and functional foods.

  • Diana Zaleta Pinet

    Natural Products Chemistry is the science that studies the secondary metabolites present in living organisms and their possible use in different fields, mostly in pharmaceutic as a new drugs. In the last 3 decades 53% of the compounds developed as new medicines are related to natural products as lead compounds, as a starting material for semi-synthetic drugs or as inspiration for the synthesis of natural product mimics.

    We focus our research in microbial natural products, which are an excellent source of new biologically active compounds. The starting point of the research is the collection of microorganism samples following the culture of the microorganisms, isolation of pure microbial strains, identification, extraction and biological testing of such. Biological active extracts are further more analyzed using GC-MS and LC-MS and compared with data bases as to concentrate efforts to the identification and isolation of new active compounds. Once active compounds have isolated, modification of the culture media and growing conditions of the microorganisms is done as to increase or decrease production of metabolites or even initiate the biosynthesis of others compounds that could present interesting biological activities.


  • Yong Zhang

    The research in the group of Zhang is encompassed in the areas of chiral separation and proteomics analysis.

  • Youcai Zhang

    The research in Zhang’s group focuses on the function of transporters and nuclear receptors in pharmacology and toxicology. The major projects include: 1) preclinical development of novel transporter/receptor-targeted drugs for metabolic diseases; 2) investigation of the role of intestinal microbiota in lipid metabolism; and 3) establishment of novel preclinical models to improve the prediction of drug-induced liver injury.

  • Jianyu Zhang (张建宇)

        Our group research interest lies in investigating basic mechanism of bio-active molecular (including nitric oxide, hydride and methyl et al.) transfer reaction in enzyme or in solution, with a goal of 1) design of more efficient chemical catalysis as well as the designed enzyme; 2) rational design of corresponding inhibitor/drug basing on the mechanism exploration.  This inspiring research area requires the combination the application of physical organic chemistry, biochemistry, chemical biology and molecular biology. 

       The most recently work refers to the understanding the role of compaction in methyl transfer reactions with the target of finding how the molecular motion in enzymes would affect the catalytic ability in the methyl transfer reaction.  This study about the methyl transfer system had/will extended from catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) to glycine-N-methyltransferase (GNMT), Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase (NNMT) and DNA\RNA demethylation with various experimental approaches such kinetic isotope effect, binding isotope effect, time-resolved spectrometers, hydrogen deuterium exchange with mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) as well as computational simulation. 

  • Lijun Zhou

    The research in the group of Zhou encompasses three main areas, including, 1) Investigation of molecular pathogenesis of diseases and cell signaling pathways, and pharmacological mechanism of drug action, 2) Development of new small molecule based targeting anticancer drugs, e.g., TRAF6 as a new target of anti-tumor therapy, 3) Development of cells and C. elegans models, for high-throughput screenings, e.g., anti-aging drugs.

Small Molecules,Natural Products,Pharmaceutical Analysis

    The Molecular Medicine (Small Molecule Science) Platform is a fusion of medicinal chemistry, natural products chemistry, Traditional Chinese Medicine and pharmaceutical analysis.  While each of these areas has its own identity and interests, the platform concept recognizes that there are many reasons for overlap between the areas, and these overlapping interests represent opportunities for collaborative research, leveraging the strengths of each discipline to build a discovery program that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Modern research is inherently collaborative, so it is essential that we create a research environment that stimulates collaboration among a variety of scientists, allowing our students to learn how best to leverage the skills and knowledge of their colleagues and teachers to help solve their own research problems. 

QQ截图20160413150427.png

    Nature is a rich source of novel molecules possessing complex biological activities.  Most drugs used in Western medicine are either naturally occurring or are based on a natural product.  The natural product chemist typically isolates interesting molecules having a biological activity and then identifies their chemical structure using a variety of spectroscopic and chemical methods.  The medicinal chemist may then take such a lead structure, and synthesize it and related compounds to define the relationship between biological activity and structural features of the molecule.  This structure-activity relationship (SAR) can be further refined via modular or combinatorial synthesis of libraries of closely related compounds, eventually leading to a drug candidate compound.  The integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine into what could be described as a Western drug discovery program is an interesting and exciting opportunity.  Most of the world’s population relies on some form of traditional medicine for their healthcare needs.  While there is ample evidence that many traditional medical practices are effective in treating diseases, many in the West still consider them to be primitive and inferior to Western “modern” medicine.  This misperception stems from the fact that science simply does not understand how or why traditional medicines work.  Using the tools of natural products chemistry and modern analytical chemistry to study TCM will help us to understand the molecular basis of these useful and effective treatments. The Molecular Medicine Platform is a fusion of the various chemical disciplines involved in pharmaceutical research and development.  In order to be a real drug discovery program, we rely on collaborations with the other, more biologically or biochemically focused platforms to develop and explore the pharmacologic targets that make chemistry relevant to treating disease.

  • Juan Wang -- Leader

    Wang’s research addresses biological engineering studies of traditional Chinese medicine. Producing active compounds of important Chinese medicine through large scale tissue culture. What is more, in order to enhance the contents of active components, regulations of gene function in secondary metabolic pathways of active components are also investigated.

  • Robert P. Borris -- Leader

    The research of the Borris groups involves a) Validation of traditional medical practices, b) Discovery of novel biologically active natural products, c) Natural products used as dietary supplements, d) Phytochemical systematics, e) Application of NMR spectrometry to the structure determination of natural products, and f) Applications of high performance centrifugal partition chromatography to the isolation of biologically active natural products and other organic compounds.


  • Jon Antilla

    Our group’s focus has been mainly in the development of new catalytic methodology for organic synthesis. Our group is a recognized leader in the area of asymmetric organocatalysis with chiral phosphoric acids. Our methodology in the formation of aminals, in the reduction of imines, desymmetrization of meso-aziridines, and pinnacol rearrangement, for example, have been highly cited extensively (3,679 citations and H-index of 26). Our methods have used in the synthesis of biologically important targets by others, for example: Benjamin List (JACS, 2008, 15786) and Scott Snyder (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 4080. Our aim has been to develop catalytic variants of existing, important reactions, to offer stereochemical control (regioselective, diastereoselective, or enantioselective) and higher efficiency, thus lower the potential costs to make drug targets. As a result we have been considered one of the leading groups in organocatalysis, especially in chiral phosphoric acid based catalysis. Our work has been recognized with a USA National Science Foundation CAREER award, a Thieme Journal Award, and also I was awarded with a JSPS Fellowship to Japan, a great honor. Additionally, part of our work has been to seek “green” alternatives to existing methods, as the use of organocatalysis avoids the employment of potentially toxic metals in an environmentally benign manner.

  • Jianmin Bao

    The research of the Bao group involves 1) development of new analytical technologies, such as (a) wide bore electrophoresis (WBE), which increases sample loading significantly compared to capillary electrophoresis (CE) for better detection and easy interface with MS and other technologies;(b) WBE containing microchip systems; and (c) multi-dimensional separation systems; 2)development of innovative bio/analytical methods such as affinity CE and liquid phase microextraction (LPME) for proteomics and pharmaceutical analysis; 3) development of new separation media including various silica gel, polymeric resin, and even agarose gel based resins and their applications; and 4)new development of miniaturized and high throughput sample preparation techniques, such as fritless SPE, membraneSPE, supported liquid extraction (SLE) and fast protein precipitation, etc. 

     

  • Matthias Bureik

    The research in the Bureik group spans two primary areas: 1) Human drug metabolizing enzymes and 2) investigation of human CYP4Z1 and the treatment of breast cancer. A primary goal in the first area involves systematic testing of all variants of drug metabolizing cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs or P450s; see left figure below) and UDP glycosyltransferases (UGTs) identified in Chinese patients. This is expected to aid doctors in choosing the correct dosage for patients. In the second area, the group has successfully identified CYP4Z1 to be a fatty acid in-chain hydroxylase. In addition, additional substrates of this enzyme that are both structurally different and far better suited to screening procedures than fatty acids have been identified. A primary aim is to search for compounds that can act as CYP4Z1-activated prodrugs (right figure) and have potential for treatment of breast cancer.

  • Haixia Chen

    The research of the Chen group concerns isolation, identification, bioactivity, and mechanism of constituents from natural resources.  In particular, the group focuses on functional mechanism and structure-activity relationships of macromolecules (polysaccharides and proteins) as well as small biomolecules. Methods are being developed in the group to quantify bioactivity of polysaccharides and small biomolecules from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural resources.  Additionally, the group investigates functional food and new medicine from natural sources.

  • Lei Chen

    The research of the Chen group is focused on synthesis of biomaterials and development of modern separation and analysis technology.  In particular, efforts include a) development of different methods to control the morphology and pore structure of the HPLC stationary phase,  b) investigation into the hydrolysis and condensation mechanism of hybrid silica based materials using MS, and c) exploitation of magnetic separation technology in the purification of biological samples. Additionally, efforts are extended towards chiral analysis of pharmacological compounds, including synthesis of chiral stationary phase of HPLC, and optimization of separation and identification methods in HPLC and LC-MS.

  • Benjamin Clark

    Research in the Clark group focuses on microbial natural products as applied to drug discovery, metabolomics, and chemical ecology. Microbes have long been a source of potent antimicrobial and anticancer agents, and we have a particular interest in marine and extremophilic microbes as a source of new drug leads. We also investigate chemical ecology: what role the metabolites serve for the microbe itself, and how are they involved in the interaction of microbes with other organisms. The group uses metabolic profiling and multivariate statistical techniques in all of these research avenues in order to classify samples, identify active components, and elucidate the interactions of molecules and organisms. While microbes are the primary focus of the group we also have experience working with plants and marine organisms if there are particularly interesting ecological questions to be addressed in these areas. 


  • Jun Dai

    The research efforts of the Dai group encompass two areas:  1) The role of retinoid-related orphan receptor RORα in controlling skin homeostatis, and 2) Control of normal mitosis by protein kinase haspin.  In the first area, the main interest is on the interplay between intra- and inter-cellular signaling pathways involved in control of skin tissue homeostasis and tumor development. Focuses on the role of the nuclear orphan receptor RORα in controlling keratinocyte differentiation and skin tumor formation, as well as the therapeutic potential of RORα agonists/antagonists in treatment of skin diseases.  In the second area, the group is interested in exploring the role of haspin in cancer development and the potential of haspin inhibitors as anti-tumor drugs.

  • Yunfei Du

    The research area of the Du group involves investigation of hypervalent iodine (III) – mediated transformations, including oxidative coupling, rearrangement, cascade reactions, and asymmetric reactions.  Additionally, the group develops metal-free methodology for the constructionof heterocyclic compounds and pharmaceutical agents.

  • Wenyuan Gao

    The research of the Gao group encompasses three main areas, including 1) Production of active constituents by biotechnology in medicinal plants, b) Development of functional products from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural products, and c) Development of new drugs from Traditional Chinese Medicine and natural products.

  • Shende Jiang

    The research of the Jiang group includes, a) carbohydrate chemistry with the use of sugars as chiral starting materials in synthesis, b) studies on the shikimic acid and shikimate pathway with particular interests in designing enzyme inhibitors as potential antimicrobial agents against bacterial, fungal and parasitical pathogens, c) process research and development for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and related intermediates in collaboration with industry, and d) development of fluorine-18 labelled radiopharmaceuticals used in Positron Emission Tomography

  • Xia Li

    The research in the group of Li involves investigations into Traditional Chinese Medicines (TCM). The emphasis is on the genetic relationship among medicinal plants based on macromolecules, such as starch and polysaccharides, and the development of process techniques for herbal materials. Additionally, the group is involved in the development of functional foods from TCM and their effective constituents. Functional products with throat clearing, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and aperient bowel functions have been developed.

  • Youxin Li

    Li’s research addresses development and application of electrophoresis techniques, chiral separation and applications, sample preparation and application, and high throughput drug screening based on hollow fiber member system development.

  • Hans Lischka

    The research in the group of Lischka involves investigation of defect structures in materials with current applications to: grapheme nanoribbons, excitonic coupling and charge transfer in p-conjugated polymers as applied to photovoltaics, photostability of DNA; development of high-level quantum hemical methods and computer codes in the framework of COLUMBUS; full parallelization of MRCI method including analytic energyg radients and nonadiabatic couplings; onthe-fly nonadiabatic photodynamics (programsystemNEWTON-X) with application to biological systems including QM/MM approach.

  • Mark Olson

    The research in the group of Olson is focused on systems chemistry with emphasis in surface science/surface chemistry and molecular recognition and self-assembly. Focus is on the role of long-range non-covalent interactions and electrostatics in synthetic macromolecules and how these forces affect the thermodynamic equilibrium and kinetics of self-assembly in solution, on surfaces, and at the solvent-nanoparticle interface.  Specific directions include, 1) development of functional information of rich structural motifs and investigation of their performance characteristics in solution as molecular entities, 2) carry over of successful systems into the macromolecular world of polymer scaffolds, colloids, and nanoparticulates, eventually leading to 3) incorporation of these macromolecular components into device setting.

  • Rajavel Srinivasan

    The research in the group of Srinivasan encompasses two main areas, 1) Developing new reaction methodologies: The research topics under this area include bioorthogonal reactions, late-stage modification of advanced chemical entities, C-H activation, and high-throughput amenable synthesis – aiming at advancing the way organic molecules are made for drug discovery and chemical biology applications. 2) Inhibitor discovery based on fragment-based approaches: Design and synthesis of ‘unconventional’ fragments with rich structural diversity. These fragments will be used as a starting point towards novel inhibitors for unexplored biological targets such as the AurB-INCENP interaction.

  • Yanfang Su

    The research in the group of Su encompasses three main areas, including a) Isolation and identification of bioactive natural compounds from medicinal plants, b) Quality control of traditional chinese medicines, 3) Research & development of new medicines of natural origin

  • Andrew C.-H. Sue

    The research in the group of Andrew C.-H. Sue involves the design, synthesis, and characterization of functional molecular materials, using both artificial and natural compounds as molecular building blocks for supramolecular architechtures. The group looks for creative ways of controlling molecular recognition events and crystallographic symmetry by exploiting both covalent bonds and non-covalent interactions. The main goal is the understanding of emergent properties displayed by the final crystal structures in solid state and their use for applications in materials and pharmaceutical sciences.

  • Jian Sun

    The research in the group of Sun involves investigation of B cell development and B cell related diseases. In recent years, immunotherapies with antibodies to depleting B cells are widely used in autoimmune diseases and B cell lymphoma. The strategy in this group is to design cytokine antagonist peptides using computer-aided design, fuse the peptides with human IgG Fc to form peptibodies by gene engineering, and analyze their activity in vitro and in vivo. Several peptibodies inhibiting B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS), a critical factor for B cell maturation and survival, are currently tested in cell culture and SLE animal models in this lab. Because overexpression of BLyS is involved in pathogenesis and development of autoimmune diseases and B cell malignances, the BLyS antagonists designed and analyzed may be potential therapeutic reagents for these diseases.

  • Zheng Wang

    The research in the group of Wang encompasses four main areas, including 1) Functional polymeric materials (biodegradable polymeric materials, smart polymeric materials such as thermo-sensitive and pH sensitive polymers, dendrimers etc.), 2) Nanotechnology for solubility improvement of water-insoluble drugs, 3) Targeted and controlled drug release systems, and 4) Self-assembled nanostructures for controlled drug release.

  • Donghua Wang

    The research in the group of Wang involves the design, synthesis, and biological activity evaluation of new compounds, with focus on industrialization of generic drugs, intermediates, and fine chemicals.  Specific areas include 1) Design and synthesis of the Rho kinase inhibitor, 2) Design and synthesis of the PDE4 inhibitor, and 3) Design and synthesis of antihistamine drugs

  • Jun Xu

    Jun Xu has the following primary aims:

    To support the projects of the research groups in the SPST by offering a state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography facility.

    To contribute to the study of diffuse scattering and defect structure simulation by developing new and improving existing methods.

    To understand the structure of crystalline materials and the relationships between the structure and properties of these materials.


  • Xuedong Yang

    The research in the group of Yang involves the fields of natural products, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry research focused at the discovery and development of bioactive natural products and their analogs as clinical trials drug candidates.  Work is carried out to understand the relationship between bioactive constituents and therapeutic effects of traditional Chinese medicine. Using basic natural products and medicinal chemistry principles coupled with modern technologies, including new analytical techniques, computational techniques, and mechanism of action or target-based medicinal chemistry research evaluation methods, the group works towards discovery and development of potential therapeutic drugs and functional foods.

  • Diana Zaleta Pinet -- Postdoctorals

    Natural Products Chemistry is the science that studies the secondary metabolites present in living organisms and their possible use in different fields, mostly in pharmaceutic as a new drugs. In the last 3 decades 53% of the compounds developed as new medicines are related to natural products as lead compounds, as a starting material for semi-synthetic drugs or as inspiration for the synthesis of natural product mimics.

    We focus our research in microbial natural products, which are an excellent source of new biologically active compounds. The starting point of the research is the collection of microorganism samples following the culture of the microorganisms, isolation of pure microbial strains, identification, extraction and biological testing of such. Biological active extracts are further more analyzed using GC-MS and LC-MS and compared with data bases as to concentrate efforts to the identification and isolation of new active compounds. Once active compounds have isolated, modification of the culture media and growing conditions of the microorganisms is done as to increase or decrease production of metabolites or even initiate the biosynthesis of others compounds that could present interesting biological activities.


  • Yong Zhang

    The research in the group of Zhang is encompassed in the areas of chiral separation and proteomics analysis.

  • Youcai Zhang

    The research in Zhang’s group focuses on the function of transporters and nuclear receptors in pharmacology and toxicology. The major projects include: 1) preclinical development of novel transporter/receptor-targeted drugs for metabolic diseases; 2) investigation of the role of intestinal microbiota in lipid metabolism; and 3) establishment of novel preclinical models to improve the prediction of drug-induced liver injury.

  • Jianyu Zhang (张建宇)

        Our group research interest lies in investigating basic mechanism of bio-active molecular (including nitric oxide, hydride and methyl et al.) transfer reaction in enzyme or in solution, with a goal of 1) design of more efficient chemical catalysis as well as the designed enzyme; 2) rational design of corresponding inhibitor/drug basing on the mechanism exploration.  This inspiring research area requires the combination the application of physical organic chemistry, biochemistry, chemical biology and molecular biology. 

       The most recently work refers to the understanding the role of compaction in methyl transfer reactions with the target of finding how the molecular motion in enzymes would affect the catalytic ability in the methyl transfer reaction.  This study about the methyl transfer system had/will extended from catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) to glycine-N-methyltransferase (GNMT), Nicotinamide N-Methyltransferase (NNMT) and DNA\RNA demethylation with various experimental approaches such kinetic isotope effect, binding isotope effect, time-resolved spectrometers, hydrogen deuterium exchange with mass spectrometry (HDX-MS) as well as computational simulation. 

  • Lijun Zhou

    The research in the group of Zhou encompasses three main areas, including, 1) Investigation of molecular pathogenesis of diseases and cell signaling pathways, and pharmacological mechanism of drug action, 2) Development of new small molecule based targeting anticancer drugs, e.g., TRAF6 as a new target of anti-tumor therapy, 3) Development of cells and C. elegans models, for high-throughput screenings, e.g., anti-aging drugs.