Natural Products Chemistry - Therapeutic Lead Discovery & Development.
Scientific interests have centered on the discovery and development of novel or known bioactive natural products with the potential for applications in various areas of biomedical research. Early research focused on terrestrial natural products under the tutelage of Anthony Almada (co-founder EAS, CSO - ImagiNutrition Inc.). Contract work involved investigations into the scientific literature at UCSF and Stanford (Lane) medical libraries to examine dietary natural products with the potential for development in areas of optimum sports nutrition, preventative medicine or as therapeutic leads to treat diseases.
Subsequent research focused on the collection, isolation, structure elucidation and biological evaluation of marine sponge derived natural products under the guidance of professor Phillip Crews (UCSC-Marine Natural Products Chemistry). A number of scientific diving expeditions (primarily to Indo Pacific, Caribbean and Red Sea tropical reef environments) have been conducted in an effort to identify and collect selected marine organisms which have yielded interesting molecular structures. Most notably are the secondary metabolites isolated from the Indo Pacific marine sponge Cacospongia mycofijiensis. Additional discoveries encompassed collaborations with many other colleagues and research labs geared to the discovery of novel or known marine natural products with selectivity or potency against human cancer cell lines, immune disorders, or neglected tropical diseases such as Trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness). Also of interest is the identification of new mechanisms of action (chemical biology) for natural products to employ them as molecular probes to answer fundamental questions in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. Further work has focused on the ability to rapidly detect and accurately quantify the bioactive chemistry responsible for the existence of harmful algal blooms from
Cacospongia mycofijiensis the marine environment, using advanced analytical spectroscopic methods.
Recent postdoctoral studies are looking at areas of human health solutions (to treat cancer, inflammation and addiction) from the native flora and fauna of Indonesia as part of the newest International Cooperative Biodiversity Group (ICBG) grant in conjunction with the principal investigator Dan Potter and the
UC Davis Bohart Museum of Entomology; Herbarium, Museum of Wildlife & Fish Biology; Plant Pathology; & Dept. of Food Science -Phaff Yeast Collection
UC Berkeley Bjeldanes lab, (Dept. of Nutritional Sciences & Toxicology)
UC San Francisco Bartlett lab, (Ernest Gallo Clinic & Research Center)
Indonesian_Research Center for Biology - Chemistry & Microbiology, Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI)
This ICBG project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health with contributions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation. The natural products chemistry associated project (AP4 -UCB/UCSF/UCSC) is using MTT assays to screen samples of Indonesian microorganisms and medicinal plants in search of tumor selective agents as well as compounds that either inhibit or enhance the immune response through targeting the NFkB pathway. Additional assays are looking for inhibitors of opioid receptors responsible for pain and addiction A high throughput screening approach using HPLC-MS based peak libraries is currently underway to streamline this discovery process and the results of several therapeutic leads will be reported in due course.
NIH_(NSF/USDA)_ICBG awarded grants
American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) - The study of medicines derived from natural sources