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Multicomponent Reactions

The synthesis of nitrogen-containing heterocyclic molecules is important for the discovery and production of novel materials and pharmaceuticals. Therefore, it is paramount that chemists discover new and robust methods to access these value-added molecules. We are interested in developing new asymmetric approaches to synthesize 1,2-cyclic sulfamidates, a versatile intermediate in organic chemistry. Subsequent use of the 1,2-cyclic sulfamidate products in multi-component reactions will provide rapid access to a variety of nitrogen-containing molecules including, β-amino acid containing peptides, isoquinolinimines and isoquinolinones. These molecules possess important biological activities such as anticancer, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

Antimicrobial Drug Development

There is a critical need for the development of novel antibiotics due to the continued emergence of multidrug resistant bacterial pathogens, the emergence of new bacterial pathogens and the potential for the use of these pathogens as bioweapons. The Mills research group is focused on identifying and synthesizing new antibiotics to tackle this urgent problem. We use a combination of structure-based design and natural products synthesis to identify starting points for further antimicrobial development. In particular, we are interested in the emerging bacterial pathogens, Kocuria rhizophila and Bacillus subtilis, as well as, drug resistant pathogens such as MRSA. The natural products, rubrolide P and anaephene B, have been reported to be active against these species and serve as excellent starting points for further optimization. Secondly, we are interested in developing strategies to overcome drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We use structure-based design to guide medicinal chemistry efforts in order to develop potent and drug-like small molecules that inhibit proteins vital for M. tuberculosis pathogenesis. 

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