TRAINEES

CBI trainees come to Illinois from highly regarded undergraduate programs, nationwide. Regardless of their undergraduate majors, they have in common the potential to perform cutting-edge discipline-spanning work at the interface of chemistry and biology.

 

Susanna Barrett

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Alex Battiste

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Katherine Greskovich

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Sydney McKee

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Michael Mulligan

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Andrew Rice

CBI Cohort 2020

Chemistry

Jazmin Aguilar-Romero

Polymeric nanoparticle drug delivery systems have tremendous potential for controlled release of therapeutic agents (e.g., small molecules, siRNA) to targeted cells under physiological conditions. However, degradation of commonly used polyester-based delivery systems relies on bulk erosion hydrolysis and is thus very slow and unresponsive to the range of physiological conditions found within cells and tissues. The goal of my research is to synthesize an acid-degradable, acid-amplifying nanoparticle that is sensitive to the lower pH values observed in endosomes and among certain tissues. My initial challenge has been to develop a system that is stable to physiological pH (7.4), but quickly degrades at endosomal pH (6.0-6.5). These features would promote endosomal release as well as enable targeting of acidic cancer tissues. Thus, two potential applications on which I am focused are (1) improved delivery into cells via endocytosis and (2) amplifying the slightly acidic pH in tumor tissue for targeting of cancer cells. 

CBI Cohort 2019

Chemistry, Zimmerman lab

Sara Eslami

As antibiotic resistance becomes increasingly prevalent, discovery of new antibiotics and investigation of novel mechanisms to treat bacterial infections has become a burgeoning area of research. Lanthipeptides, a class of natural products, are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides i.e. RiPPs, characterized by post-translationally crosslinked lanthionine residues. The van der Donk group has been particularly instrumental in discovering and elucidating the mechanisms behind this class of RiPPs. My research involves utilizing bioinformatics to discover previously unidentified lanthipeptides as well as novel biosynthetic enzymes and their corresponding natural products.

CBI Cohort 2019

Chemistry, van der Donk lab

Rachel Martini

Research Description: Cytochrome P450s (CYP) are proteins present in all domains of life that catalyze diverse monooxygenation reactions which are important for many biological functions and biopharmaceutical applications. One of their important features is their self-protection mechanism that directs the oxidizing power of the enzyme towards the substrate instead of allowing it to damage the enzyme itself. This gives CYPs the high turnover rates that make it a good candidate for use in biocatalysis. In order to better understand this mechanism and allow for its adaptation in other enzymes, my work will focus on installing a similar self-protection mechanism into an artificial enzyme that mimics CYP with high activity.

CBI Cohort 2019

Biochemistry, Lu lab

Catharine Brady

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are short lived and chemically reactive species containing oxygen such as singlet oxygen, superoxide, and peroxynitrite. At endogenous concentrations, these species have been shown to be important in cellular signaling and redox homeostasis. Alternatively, increased levels are associated with oxidative stress, are damaging to cells, and can result in apoptosis and necrosis. My research is focused on developing small molecule near-infrared light-controllable donors of ROS to allow for spaciotemporal control and monitoring of dosage to help study the roles and pathways of ROS, as well as applying these donors to photodynamic therapy of cancer.

CBI Cohort 2019

Chemistry, Jefferson Chan lab

Gabriela Ibarra

Ultrasound imaging is one of the more cost-effective and wide-spread imaging modalities in the clinic. Soundwaves have deeper penetration capabilities than light, which makes ultrasound one of the premier modalities for deep tissue imaging and allows for the noninvasive diagnosis of diseased states. To improve the image quality and contrast of ultrasound images, gas-filled microbubbles can be administered to serve as ultrasound contrast agents. However, due to their size, current ultrasound contrast agents limit the use of ultrasound imaging to only studying circulation related conditions. My project involves the development of stimuli responsive nanobubbles as ultrasound contrast agents to expand and improve the use of ultrasound to study inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

CBI Cohort 2019

Chemistry, Jefferson Chan lab

Aliki Kolliopoulos

Advances in the field of tissue engineering are increasingly reliant on biomaterials that instruct, rather than simply permit, a desired cellular response. Craniofacial bone defects are common in the context of congenital, traumatic, and post-oncologic conditions. Such bone defects are often large in size and heal poorly, motivating regenerative medicine efforts. A particular barrier to regenerative healing is the significant immune and inflammatory response post injury which can inhibit cell recruitment, vascular remodeling, and new tissue biosynthesis. My laboratory is developing a class of mineralized collagen biomaterial capable of meeting a wide range of design requirements for successful deployment into CMF bone defects, notably the ability to conformally fit complex defect geometries and support stem cell osteogenesis. My research aims to understand the effect of scaffold biophysical properties (microstructure, stiffness, alignment, mineral morphology) on the recruitment and subsequent activation status of macrophages. My ultimate goal is to demonstrate biomaterials capable of modulating the kinetics of the macrophage response post injury as a means to accelerate implant integration and subsequent bone regeneration.  

CBI Cohort 2019

ChBE, Brendan Harley lab

Sophie McClain

Under normal physiological conditions, alpha-synuclein is an intrinsically disordered neuronal protein primarily localized in the presynaptic terminals of nerve cells.  However, abnormal alpha-synuclein accumulation in the brain is a prominent pathogenic feature in a number of neurodegenerative diseases including multiple system atrophy, dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer’s disease and, most prevalently, Parkinson’s disease. It is widely accepted that these aggregates are in large part composed of oligomeric alpha-synuclein fibrils rich in beta-sheet character; however, the initial driving force behind aggregation and the aggregation pathway of alpha-synuclein are not well understood. My research aims to improve our understanding of alpha-synuclein conformation and aggregation as it relates to the chemistries the protein encounters in its local environment. Gold nanoparticles provide a readily modifiable platform with which to model interactions between alpha-synuclein and nanoscale biological entities such as lipid vesicles through variations including nanoparticle size, shape and surface chemistry. Uncovering new information regarding the fundamental properties and behaviors of alpha-synuclein will improve our understanding of its native function as well as the role it plays in the development of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

CBI Cohort 2019

Chemistry, Cathy Murphy lab

Andrew Blake

Many human diseases are tied to lack of protein function. These diseases present challenging targets for modern therapeutics, as traditional drugs do not impart missing functionality into a system.  Use of a small molecule replacement, or molecular prosthetic, could serve to directly replace missing function, thereby treating the fundamental cause underlying these diseases. Our lab has recently demonstrated the ability of one such small molecule, hinokitiol, to serve as a molecular prosthetic iron transporter via mobilizing iron across cell membranes. My project primarily aims to expand the breadth of transporter deficiencies treated by hinokitiol. I also seek to understand the fundamental biophysical factors governing transmembrane transport by small molecules, with the goal of engineering this functionality into otherwise bioactive molecules.

CBI Cohort 2018

Biochemistry, Martin Burke lab

Zac Dewald

RNA-dominant diseases are a class of degenerative diseases affecting neurological, muscular and cardiovascular function and include notorious disorders such as myotonic dystrophy, fragile X syndrome and spinocerebellar ataxia. Currently, there are no cures for RNA-dominant diseases, due in part to a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that drive these diseases as well as gaps in the therapeutic development pipeline. My research focuses on developing unique, conditionally active animal models which I can then use to study the mechanisms driving the RNA-dominant diseases in a highly controlled manner and help accelerate the drug development process. My work currently focuses on the disease Myotonic Dystrophy type one, but these models can be adapted to aid research in a wide range of diseases.

CBI Cohort 2018

Biochemistry, Auinash Kalsotra lab

Jiming Chen

Ligand selectivity is an important consideration in drug design since it is often desirable to target a specific protein with minimal effect on other similar proteins. The origins of ligand selectivity are not always apparent from protein structures because different proteins with highly conserved sequence, structure, and binding pocket residues can have significantly different affinities to the same ligand. An example is strigolactone receptors in the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica, which have a ~10000-fold higher affinity to the ligand than strigolactone receptors in host plants. My project aims to use ancestral gene reconstruction in conjunction with molecular simulation to resolve the mechanistic origin of this high ligand affinity difference between the parasite and host plant receptors

CBI Cohort 2018

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Diwakar Shukla lab

Tim Precord

Natural products and their derivatives constitute a significant portion of clinical therapeutics. In an era of rapidly expanding antibiotic resistance among clinically problematic bacteria, the importance of novel natural compound discovery is paramount. Modern advancements in genomics has facilitated the discovery of ribosomally-encoded peptidic natural products and can be leveraged for the exploration of uncharacterized natural compound chemical space. Among these, the radical S-adenosyl methionine enzyme-tailored ribosomal peptides represent a significantly diverse and underexplored subclass of natural products. My bioinformatics-guided investigation of this group of peptides has the potential to uncover a broad range of new chemical structures that may be tested for activity as lead compound scaffolds as well as reveal fundamental natural product chemistry.

  

CBI Cohort 2018

Chemistry, Douglas Mitchell lab

Kristen Muñoz

Gram-negative bacteria have emerged that are resistant to most antibiotics, a troubling trend since a new class of antibiotics for Gram-negative pathogens has not been introduced in the clinic in 50 years. Central to the issue with discovering novel antibiotics for Gram-negative bacteria is the limited understanding of the physicochemical features that affect cell-membrane permeability and accumulation within these pathogens. As a result, we are interested in elucidating the physicochemical parameters necessary for small molecules to accumulate in Escherichia coli, a problematic Gram-negative pathogen.

CBI Cohort 2018

Chemistry, Paul Hergenrother lab

Roy J Rodriguez Carrero

Methane has an important role in the global carbon cycle and it has significant economic and environmental consequences. Biological methane is produced solely by an unusual group of archaeal organisms known as methanogens. The metabolic pathway for methane production involves a set of unusual enzymes and cofactors rarely seen outside of methanogenic archaea and anaerobic methane-oxidizing organisms. Among these, one of the most interesting enzymes is methyl-coenzyme M reductase (MCR), which catalyzes the last step in methanogenesis and the first step in anaerobic methane oxidation. MCR contains several unusual modified amino acids, the role of which is mostly unknown. My research project aims to understand why these modifications are found in MCR. The difficult nature of MCR has made it a challenge to elucidate the many mysteries that surround this enzyme. However, using a mix of bioinformatic, genetic and biochemical approaches it is possible to formulate a plan to answer some pertinent questions about this enzyme.

CBI Cohort 2018

Microbiology, Bill Metcalf lab

Lindsay Chatkewitz

Personalized cancer therapies are quickly becoming the preferred method of treatment for many cancer patients. Identification of the cause of carcinogenesis is the first step in determining which personalized therapies can be utilized. While understanding and identifying each person's cancer-specific mutations can be difficult, finding therapies to target them can be even more challenging. My project aims to combat this by utilizing the overexpression of enzymes in cancerous cells as a target for novel chemotherapies. Identifying and optimizing new therapeutic molecules will help us diversify our arsenal of anti-cancer drugs. 

CBI Cohort 2018

Chemistry, Paul Hergenrother lab

Justin Miller

Cytochrome P450 enzymes are best known for their oxidation chemistries that metabolize drugs in the human body. Less well known are those in other organisms (e.g., plants) that employ P450s to modify any number of natural products used as defense compounds against insect predation and/or microbial infection. Many of these natural products are the source of pharmaceutical skeletons that allow humans to benefit from some very exotic plant P450 chemistry. Key among these are derivatives of the terpene indole alkaloid (TIA) pathway whose early products (leading to strictosidine) are synthesized in at least 80 medicinal plants and whose later products (leading to species-specific products) are utilized in cancer and viral treatments. Working in this pathway that includes at least five P450s, I am designing enzymes that transfer their particular regio- and stereo-selectivities to a wider array of substrates with the goal of developing novel natural product-like compounds.

CBI Cohort 2018

Chemistry, Mary Schuler lab

Matthew Boudreau

Research Description: Increasingly, personalized cancer therapies are becoming the gold-standard for cancer treatment. While cancer is a product of a multiplicity of aspects, every patient’s disease is driven by a specific set of genetic mutations that induce a cancerous phenotype. The advent of modern genome sequencing has allowed for the identification of specific mutations in oncogenes that are considered highly causative of developing cancer. Our aim is to leverage these known driver mutations in the discovery of novel inhibitors for specific oncogenes. These specific inhibitors will provide a high-impact endeavor for therapeutics as well as provide chemical probes for the perturbation of complex cancer biology. 

CBI Cohort 2017

Martin Garcia Chavez

Research Description: Drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria have emerged as one of the major problems in public health. This resistance arises from the fact that Gram-negative bacteria have an outer membrane that inhibits the penetration of small molecules and drugs. Therefore, elucidating the chemical properties that allow for the penetration of small molecules into Gram-negative bacteria would provide the information needed to construct antibiotics that are active against Gram-negative bacteria. 

CBI Cohort 2017

Page Daniels

Research Description: Peptide derived antibiotics can be biosynthesized in two distinct ways: non-ribosomal synthesis or ribosomal synthesis followed by post-translational modifications. RiPPs, otherwise known as ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides, are interesting discovery targets due to their vast distribution and diversity. A RiPP modifying class of enzymes, class I lanthipeptide dehydratases (LanB) transfer glutamate from a charged tRNA onto a peptide Ser/Thr side chain to form an ester bond. The enzyme then catalyzes elimination of glutamate to yield Dha/Dhb. A class of unclassified truncated LanB-like enzymes (sLanB) that completely lack the conventional elimination domain potentially present a new type of functional enzymatic chemistry. I aim to investigate the roles of a subset of sLanBs in a biosynthetic gene cluster in Bacillus halodurans.

CBI Cohort 2017

Nicholas Pino

Research Description: From regenerative medicine to emerging models of cancer development, stem cell research has been amongst the most important areas in modern science. We aim to further our understanding of stem cells by developing chemical biology tools that employ the natural biochemical environment of these cells to identify and characterize them. In this interest, we strive to design probes that can be used not only by our lab, but by other labs with similar interests in applications ranging from research in basic stem cell biology to research in stem cell-related medicine. 

CBI Cohort 2017

Imran Rahman

Research Description: Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) are a major class of natural products. RiPP precursor peptides are typically composed of a N-terminal leader sequence, and a C-terminal core sequence. The leader sequence is recognized by post-translational modification enzymes which install modifications on the core peptide. These post-translational enzymes tolerate changes in the core peptide, which allows for synthesis of peptide libraries which may have therapeutic use. I aim to investigate the leader peptide recognition mechanism in class II lanthipeptide synthetases, called LanMs. LanMs install dehydroamino acids and lanthionine linkages in the core peptide. Understanding the mechanism of substrate recognition in LanMs will allow for their use in combinatorial biosynthetic systems for the discovery of new therapeutics.

CBI Cohort 2017

Valeria Sanabria Guillen

Research Description: The estrogen receptor (ER), a hormone-activated transcription factor, plays a critical role in the development and prognosis of breast cancer. Despite the emergence and widespread use of drugs that target ER, a profound need remains for next-generation estrogen receptor ligands that show improved therapeutic outcome and reduced side effects while fending off resistance. Our work focuses on the development of estrogen receptor modulators and degraders as potential therapeutics for breast cancer, with a focus on improving potency, oral bioavailability, and effectiveness in mutant and treatment-resistant in vitro and in vivo models.  As part of this process, we seek to elucidate differential molecular mechanisms that are mediated by the structure-activity relationship of different ligands with ER, assessing their impacts on hormone-dependent gene transcription, signal transduction pathways, regulation of cell proliferation, and epigenetic regulation of ER-dependent genes.

CBI Cohort 2017

Kyle Shelton

Research Description: IThiopeptides are a class of ribosomally-synthesized natural products that are heavily post-translationally modified and often display antibiotic activity. Modifications that are common amongst thiopeptides include conversion of cysteines, serines, and threonines to thiazoles and (methyl)oxazoles, dehydration of alanines and threonines, and a ubiquitous 6-membered nitrogenous heterocycle. Several known thiopeptide congeners are adorned with additional—even exotic—modifications and the responsible enzyme(s) and bioactivity ramifications remain unknown. My project aims to characterize these structural decorations through in vitro biosynthetic reconstitution and structure-activity relationship studies.

CBI Cohort 2017

Maxwell Baymiller

Research Description: The aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRS) are a group of essential enzymes which set the genetic code by attaching amino acids to their cognate tRNAs. The aaRSs likely emerged at the dawn of protein synthesis, and as such are considered one of the most ancient protein families. This extensive evolutionary history has facilitated insertions and whole domain additions to their ancestral aminoacylation core. For example, in higher eukaryotes, leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS) has three idiosyncratic domains that enhance tRNA specificity and amino acid fidelity, as well as a unique C-terminal domain which contributes to the formation of a multi-tRNA synthetase complex. In humans, there are ten LeuRS splice variants of unknown function. Each variant ablates much of the aminoacylation active site of LeuRS, but should retain some of the binding capabilities of its other domains. In my project I will investigate these variants to discover novel interaction networks of LeuRS, and reveal how alternative splicing has re-purposed this ancient enzyme for new roles.

CBI Cohort 2016

Andrew Buechler

Research Description: Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases (aaRSs) and tRNA play fundamental roles in protein synthesis. The aaRSs covalently link specific amino acids to their cognate tRNAs, and these aminoacylated tRNAs subsequently interpret the genetic code that is embedded in mRNA to translate proteins. In addition to their canonical roles in protein synthesis, both aaRSs and tRNA are involved in a wide variety of other vital functions. My research focuses on novel roles of both leucyl-tRNA synthetase (LeuRS) and tRNA as chemical signals. In particular, LeuRS in E. colimigrates to the periplasmic space and fragments in response to certain stresses. E. coli also secretes LeuRS and tRNA at its stationary phase of growth. In addition, exogenous tRNA modulates human cell migration and assembly in tissue culture from a monolayer to tightly packed clusters of cells. I am investigating the role of dynamic LeuRS localization and its fragmentation during the E. coli stress response. Additionally, I am studying how tRNA influences human cells in the context of the microbiome, where I hypothesize that RNA factors serve as signals between host and microbe cells.

CBI Cohort 2016

Lauren Hagler

Research Description: The trinucleotide repeat expansion diseases (TREDs), make up a class of as many as 41 rare and incurable illnesses, including ALS, fragile X syndrome, myotonic dystrophy (DM1 and DM2), and Huntington’s disease. My research focuses on developing innovative new approaches for targeting DNA and RNA sequences involved in the specific disease pathogenesis. My approach is to discover small molecules with affinity and selectivity for the sequence in question and enhance the targeting ability through template-mediated self-assembly, while maintaining the favorable pharmacokinetic properties of small molecules. Thus, beyond selecting more effective agents, this approach would address a key obstacle to drug development: limited cellular uptake.  Currently, I am targeting the DNA and RNA that causes DM1 and DM2, but the strategies can be extended to other DNA and RNA sequences, including RNA.

CBI Cohort 2016

Lucas Hernandez

Research Description: Pancratistatin is a potent antitumor agent with significant clinical promise. However, a concise, modular, and scalable synthesis is required for broad structure activity relationship (SAR) as well as detailed biomolecular studies. My research involves the development of new asymmetric, dearomative processes that can convert simple benzene to the highly functionalized core of this natural product. Ultimately, these investigations will result in rapid access to tailored analogs to allow for full biological profiling.

Lucas was also awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

CBI Cohort 2016

Martin McLaughlin

Research Description: Identifying, characterizing, and engineering natural products expands both our pool of potential new drugs and our knowledge of natureís biochemical repertoire. Ribosomally translated and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs), a class of natural products, are particularly amenable to discovery and structure-function studies because their peptide scaffolds are genetically encoded. After translation of these peptides, tailoring enzymes perform exotic modifications that are critical for bioactivity of the mature natural products. Many RiPPs and their modifications are too complex for industrial-scale organic synthesis, but some of the tailoring enzymes appear to exhibit relaxed substrate specificity, potentially allowing for the use of recombinant protein expression and enzymatic synthesis to produce libraries of engineered RiPPs. My work focuses on discovery of RiPPs with novel or challenging chemical modifications and mechanistic characterization of the tailoring enzymes involved in their biosynthesis.

CBI Cohort 2016

Christopher Reinhardt

Research Description: Photoacoustic (PA) imaging is an emerging, non-invasive modality that couples the sensitivity of fluorescence imaging with the deep tissue capabilities of ultrasound imaging.  By developing activatable contrast agents, it is possible to study the role of small-molecules and biomolecules within their native biological environment (e.g,. within live animals). In particular, we are interested in studying the free-radical signaling molecule nitric oxide (NO). Over the past several decades NO has been identified as an important reactive nitrogen species with key roles in modulating vascular tone, the immune response, and cancer. My research is focused on the development, optimization, and application of activatable PA probes for NO with an emphasis on studying its role in cancer biology.

CBI Cohort 2016

Riley Svec

Research Description: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most prevalent primary malignant brain tumor. The current standard of care for GBM is surgical resection followed by radiotherapy co-administered with temozolomide (TMZ), a DNA alkylating agent. Though administered to all GBM patients, TMZ chemotherapy proves ineffective for approximately 60% due to the expression of MGMT, an alkyltransferase. Our aim is to synthesize a novel analog of TMZ that is not susceptible to the MGMT-based resistance mechanism, and may therefore offer a therapeutic benefit to the entire GBM patient population, irrespective of MGMT expression status. 

CBI Cohort 2016

Effie Zhou*

Research Description: The hierarchical model of cancer suggests that tumors consist of heterogeneous mixtures of cells which are biologically distinct from one another. Only select cells within the tumor, classified as cancer stem cells (CSCs), are capable of initiating tumor growth by differentiating into cancer cells. It is postulated that these CSCs are slow-growing and thus resistant to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation; their survival may drive new tumorigenesis even after a period of remission. CSCs have been identified previously by their enhanced expression of cell surface markers, aldehyde dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase. My research involves the development of near-IR small molecule probes to study and identify CSCs in vivo using photoacoustic tomography.

 

Effie was also awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

*CBI Steering Committee Graduate Student Representative

CBI Cohort 2016

Chelsea Anorma

Research Description: Metal ions are essential for a plethora of biological roles, including enzymatic activity and signal transduction. For many of these roles, tight control of the metal ion concentration is crucial to prevent disease states. Thus, imaging of metal ion localization and flux in vivo is important for better understanding both normal physiology and the connection of metal ions to disease. However, current imaging modalities, such as fluorescence microscopy, are limited by depth penetration through tissue and are difficult to apply to in vivo models. Photoacoustic (PA) imaging, on the other hand, is a developing technique that depends on the detection of sounds waves generated by a fluorophore, taking advantage of the low scattering of sound waves in tissue for non-invasive deep tissue imaging. My work will involve developing small molecule and protein based PA probes for studying metal ions in vivo.

CBI Cohort 2015

Paola Estrada

Research Description: Ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) are a diverse class of natural products that start as linear precursor peptides translated by the ribosome. A series of post translation modifications alter the precursor peptide into the final natural product. These post translation modifications may include the cleavage of the N or C terminus, the thioether linkage of amino acids, cyclization, and the addition of prenyl or sugar groups among many others. My work consists on the structural and biochemical characterization of these tailoring enzymes. Specifically, I am working on macrocyclases and prenyltransferases that function on peptidic substrates.

CBI Cohort 2015

Sarah Perlmutter

Research Description: The majority of small molecule drugs approved over the past two decades have originated from high throughput screening (HTS) libraries. However, most current synthetic libraries are generally comprised of relatively planar molecules that lack stereochemical complexity, limiting the potential number of drug targets. My research focuses on using the Complexity-to-Diversity (CtD) strategy developed by the Hergenrother lab to help improve complexity of molecules in HTS libraries. The CtD strategy utilizes chemoselective reactions to dramatically change the core ring structures of natural products to create distinct new scaffolds which maintain or increase structural complexity as measured by fraction sp3 and number of stereogenic centers.

Sarah was also awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

CBI Cohort 2015

Aaron Roth

Research Description: Asymmetric catalysis serves and important role in the development of novel pharmaceutical agents as one enantiomer of a compound is typically more active. By employing a counter-intuitive Lewis-base activation of Lewis-Acids, a highly reactive, enantioenriched thiaranium ion can be formed from a starting olefin and subsequently functionalized to access a number of enantioenriched medicinally relevant moieties. Additionally, the resulting arylthioether can serve as a handle to access a number of diverse functional groups.

Aaron was also awarded a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

CBI Cohort 2015

Please reload

The production of this website was supported by Grant No. T32 GM070421 from the Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program at UIUC and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH Research Training and Career Development.