Medicinal Chemistry

The Medicinal Chemistry Program is focused on central activities required for the development of small organic molecules as cancer chemotherapeutic agents. Members of this program use a wide variety of approaches, including chemical, biochemical, cellular, and animal methods to design and discover drugs. These approaches include, but are not limited to: 

  • Natural product-based drug design and discovery — Synthesis of anticancer natural products and analogs thereof and biological studies on their mechanism of action.
  • Biologically targeted drug design — Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of synthetic compounds as potential inhibitors of anticancer enzyme targets, and antagonists of anticancer receptors.
  • Screening of biological targets for drug discovery — Development and utilization of methods, including systems biology methods, for the high-throughput evaluation of potential anticancer agents.
  • Preclinical models for drug development — Evaluation of potential chemotherapeutic and chemopreventive agents in cellular and animal cancer models. 

Specific examples of activities in this program include: 

  • Development of new synthetic routes to natural products known to function as antitumor or chemopreventive agents.
  • Mechanistic evaluation of new anticancer natural products.
  • Design and synthesis of targeted protein kinase inhibitors.
  • Design and synthesis of inhibitors of post-translational modifications.
  • Design and synthesis of topoisomerase inhibitors.
  • Development of systems methods for discovery of novel potential anticancer targets.
  • Studies of potential chemotherapeutic agents in mouse xenograph and other animal models. 

Program members 

Deborah W. Knapp, Co-Leader (Veterinary Clinical Services)

David H. Thompson, Co-Leader (Computational and Systems Biology) 

View our entire membership list.