Our research is centered on medicinal and biophysical chemistry, with emphasis in the areas of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy in biological systems, and developing antimalarial drugs. I also direct the Portland State University NMR facility, which actually serves the entire Portland area.We apply a variety of tools, depending on the nature of a particular problem. These tools include organic synthesis, electronic spectroscopy, NMR spectroscopy, and computer modeling. The following are specific projects currently being investigated.
Reversed Chloroquines as Antimalarial Agents:
Chloroquine (CQ) is one of the safest and most effective drugs ever developed, but resistance has emerged against it. We have developed a way to modify CQ to circumvent this problem. Work is ongoing to develop these drugs into a practical and inexpensive treatment for malaria, a disease that is actually a growing worldwide problem.
Protein Structure/Function Studies:
Collagens. After so many years as a textbook case, we still don’t really know the canonical reasons for the stability of collagen, our most abundant protein. We are particularly interested in glycosylated collagens, lacking hydroxyproline.
Subtilisin & Furin. These proteins are produced in vivo as precursors, including an intramolecular chaperone domain. Questions about dynamics and structure are being addressed by NMR. These systems are important because the propeptide motifs are conserved within this type of protein, and may be important for protein folding in general.
Tobacco Smoke Chemistry:
Once-secret ‘internal’ tobacco industry documents discuss how adding bases to cigarette tobacco can increase the proportion of free-base nicotine in the smoke particulate matter (PM), and therefore enhance the smoke “impact”. We are able to use NMR spectroscopy to probe tobacco smoke particulate matter to find the fraction of free-base nicotine in a direct way.
Photos coming soon!
Group member info coming soon!