Chemistry Research

Stereospecific Synthesis of Anthracycline Metabolites
Dr. Daniel Nogales

Dr. Nogales€™ research involves the synthesis and spectroscopic study of biologically interesting compounds. One current project involves the synthesis of human metabolites of chemotherapy drugs, such as Adriamycin (Doxorubicin) and Daunorubicin. These human metabolites, doxorubicinol and daunorubicinol, are formed in vivo 4-10 hours after administration of the drug. The metabolites have been linked to chronic cardiotoxicity for patients that have received large dosages. The mechanism of cardiotoxicity is not well understood and is currently being investigated. Because of the rapid metabolism of the parent drug, the bioactivity of the metabolites becomes an important question. How effective are the metabolites in killing cancer cells? What side effects do the metabolites have and are they more dangerous than the drug itself? By synthesizing the metabolite we can begin to address these important questions.

The metabolites are formed by a reduction of the C-13 carbonyl to its corresponding alcohol. Only one stereoisomer, the S-isomer, is formed in vivo while reduction with NaBH4 produces a mixture of both stereoisomers. The major goal of this project is to use chiral reducing agents to stereospecifically reduce the C-13 ketone to the S-isomer alcohol without reducing other functionality of the molecule. As a second goal, the stereospecific synthesis of the unnatural R-alcohol could show different chemotherapy and cardiotoxic properties.

Carbon Nanotube-Based Solar Cells
Dr. Jerry Harris

Dr. Harris €™ research focuses on the growth of carbon nanotubes and on the synthesis and characterization of new inorganic/organometallic compounds.  The research is a continuation of work started at NASA Glenn Research Center, where he spent six years conducting research in the area of space power. In collaboration with scientists at NASA GRC, Dr. Harris is exploring the use of carbon nanotubes for use in next generation solar cells. This project involves the growth of carbon nanotubes onto electrically conductive substrates, characterization of the nanotubes, complete solar cell fabrication, and solar cell characterization. 

A second area of Dr. Harris€™ research is the synthesis     and characterization of new inorganic/organometallic compounds. Several new compounds have been synthesized with the general composition of M(NCS)x(pic)y, where M is a transition metal and pic is 4-picoline (4-methyl pyridine). The new compounds are being characterized by X-ray crystallography, thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and cyclic voltammetry. The use of the compounds as potential precursors for quantum dots and carbon nanotube catalysts is being explored.  Below are two examples of new compounds that have been synthesized by NNU students during summer research.

Photoisomerizable Molecular Switches
Dr. Timothy Anstine

During the past summer, Dr. Timothy Anstine performed research on photoisomerizable molecular switches. The following reactions were completed and the products 1, 2, 3, and 4 were purified by various methods and characterized using 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR (from UNR) and IR. Rotaxane 4 is being crystallized for crystal structure analysis.