The Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology presents Dr. Joseph Ready - Click Here
, University of Texas, Southwestern: "Synthesis of Biologically Active Small Molecules"
The Ready group is engaged in the discovery and application of new chemical reactions, the total synthesis of complex molecules, and the discovery of biologically active small molecules.
The combined effect of three recent developments has created an enormous challenge and a fantastic opportunity for synthetic chemistry. First, the sequencing of the human genome has revealed a huge number of genes associated with human diseases, and the corresponding proteins represent potential drug targets. Second, the development of high-throughput screening methods has given scientists the ability to evaluate large collections of small molecules quickly and accurately. Finally, solid phase synthesis has been revolutionized by new techniques and equipment such that it is now possible to synthesize large libraries of defined molecules in usable quantities. Taken together, the situation facing pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers alike is that we have a platform to access many molecules, and means to test their effect on specific, relevant cellular targets. The great challenge now facing chemistry and, I believe, all of biomedical science, is the need for chemical reactions and protocols that are reliable, predictable and efficient. It is only through the development of such reactions that we can create the molecular diversity required to combat human diseases. Currently, only a limited number of reactions proceed selectively and quantitatively with a broad range of substrates. Thus the preparation of new compounds continues to be one of the slowest steps in drug discovery.
My research program focuses on three related areas of organic synthesis: development of synthetic methods, natural products synthesis, and drug discovery. We are interested in all areas of reaction development, including discovery, application and mechanistic study. In the context of reaction discovery, we are studying problems in organometallics, asymmetric catalysis and the chemistry of carbenes. Current research is directed toward the discovery of a catalytic system for enolate alkylation and the development of cycloadditions for the enantioselective synthesis of five-membered rings. Simultaneously, synthetic studies on natural products are guided by an interest in novel approaches to polycyclic skeletons. Target selection is influenced equally by issues of molecular complexity and biological activity. Finally, we are involved in collaborative efforts to identify small molecules with relevance to neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and virology. We anticipate that the combination of these efforts will greatly expand the power of organic chemistry and enable the rapid and efficient synthesis of valuable complex molecules.
Contact: Stephen Doster