Organic/ Bioorganic/ Materials/ Polymers
The Trant Team’s interest lies at the interface of synthetic chemistry, medicine, materials, and biology. We use the tools of synthetic organic chemistry to create new biologically active compounds that mimic natural biomolecules like carbohydrates, peptides and lipids. By tweaking these structures, we can create solutions to medical and biological challenges by improving receptor-ligand interactions, and/or increasing the stability of these molecules to the living environment in ways that are unavailable to the natural compounds. These materials also have intriguing applications in nanotechnology as self-assembled structures with the ability to interact with biological systems.
We are currently initiating three research projects:
- Physiologically stable “acetal-free” carbohydrates (carbasugars and C-glycosides) for use as long-lasting (compared to natural sugars) therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostic probes, and cellular labels.
- New artificial peptides and the incorporation of novel artificial amino acids to improve non-native peptide-protein interactions to develop therapeutics for auto-immune conditions like type I diabetes, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis and arthritis; and for making synthetic conotoxin analogues, potent non-addictive pain-killers.
- A new class of biomolecule-based self-immolative polymers, which are triggerable, degradable materials that can be reduced to small molecules on command.
All projects sit at the interface of chemistry with biology: new molecules need to be designed and prepared, allowing for the development of original synthetic chemical methodologies, and these are then tested for biological activity. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to develop expertise in organic synthesis, biochemistry, computational chemistry, and materials science.
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS: TBA