Undergraduate researcher in biological chemistry receives CLAS Scholars Award

Alexander Duong, an undergraduate researcher in the Eddy Research Group, was recently named a recipient of a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Scholar Award. UF CLAS provides this award to high achieving undergraduate students who show great promise for making significant contributions to original scientific research, and the award provides undergraduate students an opportunity to work one-on-one with a CLAS faculty member on a research project. Alex is a rising sophomore and chemistry major, and he will be studying the structures and functions of human G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). GPCRs are sensory proteins on the surfaces of cells involved in numerous diseases including cancers, heart disease, and diabetes. GPCRs are the target of over 1/3 of FDA-approved drugs and are top targets for the development of new therapeutics. Alex?s research will focus on improving our understanding of the activity of GPCRs to improve drug design criteria.

2019 Tarrant Awards Announced

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2019 Tarrant Summer Graduate Research Scholarships. The endowment honors Prof. Paul Tarrant, a member of our department from 1946 to 1981, and this award promotes outstanding research for graduate students working in the division of Organic Chemistry.

This year’s recipients are Ehsan Fereyduni and Jacob Lessard. Ehsan, who received his M.S. degree in chemistry from Kharazmi University, is a member of Prof. Alex Grenning’s research group and is working on devising a simple and standardized synthetic route to access natural and bioactive cycloheptanes for drug discovery. Jacob received his B.S. degree in chemistry from University of New Hampshire and is a member of Prof. Brent Sumerlin’s research group. His research has mainly focused on the synthesis of reprocessable thermosets and the development of new polymerization methods.

The Roitberg group describes a method to calculate accurate molecular energies without the computational cost

The Roitberg group has recently published a method that uses Machine learning techniques, to compute highly accurate energies, but at a low computational cost.

Photographer: Bernard Brzezinski, UF Press Office

University of Florida researchers have identified addictive nut’s derivatives that could help smokers break their nicotine addictions

“Worldwide, over 1 billion people smoke cigarette and 600 million chew betel quid, an addicting mix of areca palm nut that can include tobacco. University of Florida researchers have identified at least one compound derived from the areca nut that targets the nicotinic receptor subtypes involved in nicotine addiction. In a collaboration between Roger L. Papke, Ph.D. (UF Pharmacology and Therapeutics) and Nicole A Horenstein, Ph.D. (UF Chemistry), they reported data last year on the nut’s active ingredient, arecoline. Horenstein and coworkers are synthesizing promising new arecoline derivatives, with the goal to treat nicotine and possibly Areca nut addictions without side effects associated with current smoking cessation drugs. Horenstein was featured in an ACS press release and she presented their findings earlier this month at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in San Francisco on April, 5, 2017.”

Aponick Group research featured on the JACS website masthead

A recently published paper by the Aponick Group is featured on the JACS website. The work, entitled “Enantioselective Alkyne Conjugate Addition Enabled by Readily Tuned Atropisomeric P,N-Ligands” describes how moving from the traditional 6-membered atropisomeric biaryl ligand architecture to chiral biaryl ligands containing a 5-membered heterocycle facilitates tuning. By the nature of the scaffold structure, ligand congeners are readily prepared, enabling one to address issues of selectivity and reactivity.

As an illustrative example, co-workers Sourabh Mishra and Ji Liu reported several novel ligands and identified Me-StackPhos as optimal for the enantioselective, direct conjugate addition of alkynes to ?,?-unsaturated Meldrum’s acids. The reaction scope was quite broad, allowing them to use this as a key reaction in the synthesis of OPC 51803, a pre-clinical agent that had previously only been prepared via classical resolution of off-path intermediates.

For more information, see the article at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jacs.7b00363

Sumerlin Group publishes paper in Chem achieving unprecedented molecular weights for well-defined polymers

“In a recent paper in�Chem�(Cell Press), the Sumerlin Research Group reports a new polymerization strategy that leads to the highest molecular weight polymers ever prepared by a controlled radical polymerization (CRP) method. Developments in CRP have revolutionized polymer chemistry over the last two decades, allowing access to polymers with well-defined and predictable molecular weights, narrow molecular weight distributions, block copolymers, and complex macromolecular architectures. More than 30,000 papers have been published in this area since the mid 1990?s. However, applying CRP techniques for the synthesis of high molecular weight polymers has consistently proven to be challenging.”

The Grenning Lab Has Designed A Simple Synthesis of Common Terpenoid Cores

“Highly oxidized and complex terpenoid natural products are important drugs for treating diseases. Unfortunately, they can suffer from poor natural abundance and be challenging to synthesize from commodity chemicals. UF Chemistry Department researchers have successfully developed a simple strategy to synthesize related structures with high structural diversity.”

The Grenning Lab Has Designed A Simple Synthesis of Common Terpenoid Cores

“Highly oxidized and complex terpenoid natural products are important drugs for treating diseases. Unfortunately, they can suffer from poor natural abundance and be challenging to synthesize from commodity chemicals. UF Chemistry Department researchers have successfully developed a simple strategy to synthesize related structures with high structural diversity.”