Research in the Rainier group emphasizes studies in the field of chemical synthesis and the exploration of the properties of synthetic targets. Within this discipline, we are particularly fascinated by the interplay between structure (biological activity), total synthesis, and reaction development.
Total Synthesis, Structure, and Biological Activity
Biologically active target that are currently receiving attention in our laboratory include:
(a) fused polycyclic ether natural products (e.g. brevenal, gambieric acid, adriatoxin) and the design and synthesis of polycyclic ether libraries;
(b) indoline natural products (e.g. kapakine and caulamidine);
(c) guanidine natural products (e.g. palau'amine).
The study of the biological activity of the agents listed above are being done in collaboration with experts around the world including Tom Murray (Creighton, ion channels), Jan Tytgat (Belgium, ion channels), David Horgen (Hawaii, TRPM1), Alan Light (Utah, ASIC channels), Julia Kubanek (Georgia Tech, cell signaling), Kirk Gustafson (NCI, malaria), Roger Acey (CSULB, cholinesterase binding), and John Conboy (Utah, membrane binding)
We are equally involved in reaction development with a particular emphasis on the use of new and/or improved methods to the synthesis of the targets mentioned above. Reactions that are currently being examined in our laboratory include:
(a) new methods to synthesize biologically relevant carbon-glycosides (polycyclic ethers and C-glycoside libraries):
(b) carbonyl-olefin ring-closing metathesis reactions (polyether libraries):
(c) the use of rhodium carbenoids to generate highly substituted indoles and indolines and guanidines (palau'amines and cholinesterase inhibitors):
(d) 2-thioindole cyclizations (indole as a nucleophile, caulamidine).