Our research interests span the disciplines of chemistry and biology with an emphasis on studies of biological active agents pertinent to epigenetic disease.
These research topics include:
Part 1. Total Synthesis of Marine Natural Products
Natural products are important for the contemporary drug discoveries, nearly 50% of new chemical entities were derived from the scaffold of bioactive natural molecules, and the marine natural products play more important roles in recent years. As synthetic chemists, intrigued by the structural and functional diversity of marine derived cyclopeptides, cyclodepsipeptides, macrolides and alkaloids, our students are engaged in developing novel strategies toward the region- and stereo-specified construction of selected target molecules. Through the power of total synthesis, we not only provide opportunities to challenge the state-of-the-art of organic synthesis but also gain insight into their structure/activity relationships and biosynthetic origin.
Part 2. Natural Products Inspired Chemical Epigenetic Studies
Epigenetics is the science relating to changes in biological phenotype without an underlying change in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic changes are orchestrated by enzymes that modulate chromatin structure by covalently altering DNA or histone proteins. These post-translational modifications are dynamic, and regulate the pattern of gene expression and repression. In this area, our research interests are centered on natural product-inspired design and synthesis of small molecules, targeting a number important epigenetic enzymes, such as histone deacetylases, histone acetyltransferases, histone methyltransferases, histone lysine demethylase, protein arginine methyltransferase.