Alfred L. Williams, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Natural Products Synthesis
A wide range of structural diversity can be found in marine natural products. Due to this rich diversity, these compounds have been found to have many types of biological activity (anticancer, antiviral, antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory). Natural products have also shown promise in the development of novel drug leads. Due to their drug lead potential and impact in chemical biology, discovery of new synthetic methods leading to their synthesis is very important. The aim of this natural product research will be to develop synthetic methodologies into the total synthesis of the natural products: Ecteinascidin-743, Dragmacidin A and (+) – Piperazinomycin.
Diversity Oriented Synthesis
In drug discovery and chemical biology, natural products have made a strong impact. Novel small molecule libraries have been designed using natural products as starting points. The aim of this research will be to develop natural product-like libraries using marine natural products as templates targeting compounds having anticancer, antiviral, antiparasitic and anti-inflammatory activity. The synthesis of these libraries will involve the development of new synthetic methodologies and production of molecules with new biological activity.
Once a relevant and validated biological target has been identified and compounds from a High-Throughput (HTS) or Medium-Throughput (MTS) screen showing activity against a target has been identified, generation of lead compounds and optimization of lead compounds to give potent and efficacious compounds is the next step in the drug discovery process. The aim of this Drug Discovery project will be the synthesis of novel lead compounds targeting GPCR’s and Kinases. These proteins have been identified as targets for the treatment of Neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's or Parkinson's) and Cancer.