Professor Corey Stephenson and his group have received a 5-year, $1.7 million award from the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS) to develop novel catalytic approaches to the synthesis of alkaloid natural products. These visible light-mediated methods provide innovative avenues toward challenging molecular architectures with broad biological activity.
The Stephenson Group focuses on performing syntheses in an environmentally conscious way. By using visible light, they prepare waste-free, non-toxic “reagent” complex natural products. Since most organic molecules do not absorb visible light, they can use photosensitive catalysts (widely studied for their photophysical properties) to carry out transformations under mild conditions in the presence of otherwise reactive functional groups. These new chemical reactions will enable the synthesis of biologically active natural products implicated in cancer, infection, and cardiovascular disease.
This award will reinforce our Life Science research infrastructure on the Charles River Campus by renovating space on the 4th floor in the East Wing of the Metcalf Science and Engineering Center Department of Chemistry space. Started in April, 2010, the one-year effort will renovate 6,700 square feet of laboratory and office space to create four laboratory modules for state-of-the-art research in synthetic organic chemistry and supporting laboratory space for analytical chemistry. The flexible laboratory layout will enable technology-facilitated medicinal chemistry. Complementary faculty and meeting space will be developed to fully support real and virtual conferencing that facilitates engagement and collaboration among research scientists on the Charles River and Medical campuses as well as sites outside of BU. These renovations of four research laboratories will provide the infrastructure for the chemical sciences to realize BU’s biomedical research vision, which has been constrained by outdated and inflexible infrastructure available in the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering (renovated in 1983). It will bolster BU’s leadership position in translational science by providing a robust environment for multidisciplinary research efforts bridging chemistry and biology. This NIH facilities renovation award is the first federally funded renovation grant on the Charles River Campus in BU’s history.
The Chemistry Department is please to announce our receipt of an NSF REU site award. The Chemistry Research Addressing Biological Problems program gives undergraduates the opportunity to conduct research in basic chemical science projects that address fundamental questions in biological systems. The program is offered by the Department of Chemistry at Boston University and is one of the sites supported by the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU). The Department of Chemistry has an outstanding, internationally known faculty and exceptional, modern facilities. It is located in the heart Boston, one of the world’s leading research areas.