Research in the Taylor Group is interdisciplinary ranging from synthetic and medicinal chemistry to enzymology and bionanotechnology.
Cyclic lipodepsipeptide antibiotics (cLPAs) constitute a family of nonribosomally synthesized peptides that consist of a macrocyclic peptide core containing a lactone linkage, to which is attached a lipid or lipidated linear peptide. Daptomycin, an important antibiotic used for treating difficult infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria, is an example of this type of antibiotic. We develop novel methodologies for synthesizing these antibiotics. We then use these methodologies to prepare analogs of the cLPAs. These analogs are examined for their antibacterial properties. Our ultimate goal is to development novel antibiotics that are effective against bacteria that are resistant to current antibiotic therapies. In addition, we also use the analogs to learn how the cLPAs kill bacteria (their mechanism of action). For these studies we employ a variety of analytical techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy, isothermal titration calorimetry and NMR spectroscopy.
Our efforts in carbohydrate chemistry focus upon:
- the preparation of sulfated oligosaccharides
- the modification of starch nanoparticles
Sulfated carbohydrates play key roles in important biological processes such as blot clotting, cell adhesion, and cell-cell communication to name but a few. Despite their widespread occurrence, elucidating their biological function has been challenging mainly because they are isolated as complex mixtures from natural sources, and the chemical synthesis of pure, well defined sulfated oligosaccharide fragments is extremely challenging. We are using new sulfate protecting group methodology developed in the Taylor Group to develop more concise routes to these compounds.
Nucleoside and Nucleotide chemistry
Many anticancer and antiviral drugs are nucleoside analogs. We are interested in developing novel approaches to the synthesis of nucleosides and nucleoside polyphosphates and their conjugates and then applying this methodology to the synthesis of compounds that can be used as inhibitors and probes of therapeutically significant enzymes.
Synthetic Methodology and Medicinal Chemistry/Enzymology
We develop novel synthetic methodology and then apply this new chemistry to the synthesis of molecules that are designed to be biophysical probes and inhibitors of medicinally significant enzymes such as cytidine triphosphate synthase (anti-cancer and anti-viral target) and bacterial IgA1 protease (an antivirulence target).