Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UD prof helps discover new chemical method important to drug design, agrichemicals

25.06.2010
University of Delaware scientist Donald Watson is part of a research team that has discovered an easier method for incorporating fluorine into organic molecules, giving chemists an important new tool in developing materials ranging from new medicines to agricultural chemicals.

The research, which is reported in the June 25 edition of Science, was led by Stephen Buchwald, the Camille Dreyfus Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Watson worked in Buchwald's lab at MIT as a postdoctoral research associate prior to joining the UD Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an assistant professor this past September.

About 25 percent of pharmaceuticals contain fluorine, according to Watson, but it's difficult to incorporate the element into drug molecules. Numerous researchers have been working to develop general methods to introduce fluorine atoms into organic molecules under mild reaction conditions.

“The introduction of fluorine atoms into a pharmaceutical compound can have pronounced effects,” Watson notes. “They can modulate the uptake of the drug and stabilize it against metabolism by the body, keeping it in a person's system longer and making it more effective.”

The chemical method discovered by the research team uses a soluble palladium (a precious metal) catalyst to replace a chlorine atom in an aromatic molecule with a trifluoromethyl (CF3) group, which contains one carbon and three fluorine atoms. The process is highly general and occurs under mild conditions, and may become even more economical in the future as less expensive reagents are identified, Watson says.

Watson's role in the research effort was in early stage development. He dissected the complex chemical process into manageable pieces, isolating the first compounds critical to the reaction and demonstrating their effectiveness.

This is the second article in this research field that the team has published in Science during the past year. The work on which the first article is based will result in Watson's first patent, co-authored with colleagues at MIT.

Today, in his laboratory at UD, Watson works on developing homogeneous transition metal-based catalysts for use in organic chemistry. He hopes the processes that he is discovering will find use in pharmaceutical, agrichemical, and alternative energy research.

His aim is to help build the chemist's toolkit, providing tools -- in the form of chemical reactions -- that other chemists can use to make new molecules.

“In my lab we do basic science that has the potential for real-world applications,” Watson says. “We're working with the nuts and bolts, getting to develop stuff that other scientists can use. It's exhilarating to do research that will impact the way chemists build molecules.

“Making molecules and new catalysts is exciting,” he adds. “To be able to sketch out a new compound and then make a new substance is a unique experience. It's pretty thrilling to be able to create new substances that other people have never seen before.”

Watson has a growing laboratory group, with three graduate students, an undergraduate student, and a laboratory assistant.

“They are an incredible group of hard-working and highly talented students, and their science will have an impact,” he says.

He knows that the experience in his lab has the potential to transform their lives just as his lab experiences did.

As an undergraduate, Watson explains, his interests were torn -- would he pursue physics, chemistry, or chemical engineering? Then as a sophomore in college he got involved in laboratory research in organic chemistry. The opportunity to work on something someone hadn't worked on before hooked him.

“I really like having undergraduate and early graduate students in the lab with me now,” Watson notes. “Being able to work with young scientists who are just getting started is very rewarding. I hope that I will be able to show them how exciting and important this field is. Being able to return that favor to others is a great privilege in this job.”

Tracey Bryant | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.udel.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>