Abstract: Complex molecule synthesis benefits from both methodological advances and strategic innovation. With the belief that a quality synthesis requires a solid strategy, our group focuses largely on synthesis design. Often, our targets are potentially valuable for their biological activities, in which case general applicability to a range of family members and/or unnatural analogues is incorporated into the design.
Abstract: The gut microbiome comprises trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the mammalian intestines. These microbes regulate myriad aspects of host physiology, including factors that modulate many inflammatory diseases. Despite the abundance and prevalence of the gut microbiota, little is known regarding the pathways and mechanisms by which these microbes affect host health. Emerging evidence suggests that many small-molecule metabolites that are produced by the gut microbiota have the ability to modulate host defense mechanisms in various inflammatory diseases.
Abstract: Vicinal (1,2-disubstituted) functional group motifs are ubiquitous in structurally complex small molecules that are of academic and industrial importance, including many widely used pharmaceutical agents. Many such functional group combinations, however, remain exceptionally challenging to synthesize. The goal of research in the Engle lab is to develop a general catalytic platform for alkene and alkyne difunctionalization to introduce a diverse array of functional groups at each of the two carbon atoms in a programmable fashion.
The applications of functional nanomaterials towards biological interfacing continue to emerge in various fields, such as in drug delivery and tissue engineering. While the rational control of surface chemistry and mechanical properties have been achieved for several of these biocompatible systems, these biomaterials are rarely synthesized with optical and electronic functionalities that could be beneficial for controlling the behavior of excitable cells (e.g., neurons and cardiac cells) or for biosensing applications.