Sydney McKee
Advisor: Paul Hergenrother
Cohort: 2020

Natural products encompass a broad spectrum of the pharmaceutical industry, including prolific anticancer therapeutics such as vinblastine and Taxol. My research focuses on the selection of natural products with synthetically tractable scaffolds that have previously shown promising anticancer activity but have not yet been further pursued. I will synthesize these compounds and variants thereof, with the aim of potentiating desirable activity, and will perform target identification analyses to elucidate novel or underrepresented pathways. Additionally, I intend on continuing to probe the mechanistic pathways and efficacy of a novel analog for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a malignant brain tumor in which therapeutic options are scarce. Current chemotherapy relies on temozolomide, a DNA alkylating agent that is inefficacious for those harboring MMR deficiencies and/or those expressing MGMT. The generation of a therapeutic that circumvents these mechanisms of resistance could benefit a larger population afflicted with GBM.