Texas A&M LINCHPIN Lab Fights Human Disease

Uploaded by AggieMedia on 11.06.2012

The Natural Products LINCHPIN Laboratory is a collaboration center that enables chemists
to work with biologists to address issues of human disease. In particular, what the
natural products LINCHPIN laboratory allows biologists and chemists to do together is
to take compounds that are identified from plants, bacteria, marine sponges, and translate
those to biologists to do basic cell biology. So, in some way, we're middle man as chemists
that synthetically manipulate these compounds, these elements that come from plants and sponges
to enable discoveries at the chemistry-biology interface and beyond that in trying to understand
about human disease.
Our natural product LINCHPIN laboratory has brought collaborations with many scientists
worldwide. We theorize bioactive nature products provided by the collaborators to do the structure
activity relationship studies. We synthesize nature product or derivatives which are potential
struct leads and in a few cases, we also assist in collaborators with natural product isolations
and structure stabilization.
The structure activity relationship study we perform here in the lab allows us to achieve
our ultimate goal of synthesizing cellular probes from these bioactive natural products.
To achieve this goal, we synthetically attach a linker to the original natural product which
then enables us to further attach a reporter tag to make the cellular probe. With this
probe, we allow the biologists to figure out what the natural product is doing in such
cells or ultimately in the human body.
So here I'm showing you a structural model of what one of the natural products that comes
from in fact a marine sponge. This is a compound that the natural product LINCHPIN laboratory
is currently working on, in terms of figuring out if this compound is useful as an anti-cancer
agent that is able to kill cancer cells, and we want to find out how useful it is in doing
In order to further integrate undergraduate teaching and research, I initiated the TAMU
Undergraduate MiniPharma. THis is basically a pharmaceutical environment for teaching
undergraduates. A current project in this semiatomis group of undergraduates is a collaboration
with the natural products LINCHPIN laboratory. We're targeting an unusual approach to cancer
chemotherapy. Currently, a group of high achieving undergraduates are involved with organic synthesis
of novel enzyme inhibitors, there is actually five members in this group, two graduates
are performing computer simulations of the enzyme inhibitor, and one student is performing
biological essays under laboratory professor James Sacchettini. So, Texas A&M has made
it possible through providing laboratory space of course for my research group, but beyond
that, they've also provided initial seed funding to start the natural products LINCHPIN laboratory
which again is attempting to translate these basic research findings to potential treatments
for human disease.