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NIGMS center grants will spice up chemical libraries

Variety has been called the spice of life and the soul of pleasure. For chemists developing combinatorial libraries, it is the ultimate goal.

These high-quality libraries of diverse chemical structures give scientists powerful tools to discover small molecules with a wide range of physiological properties. Whether scientists are looking for a new antibiotic or a small molecule to bind to a specific protein, they typically rely on screening hundreds or thousands of chemicals. Having the ability to synthesize carefully designed libraries will spare researchers the labor and expense of purifying or synthesizing individual compounds to screen.

Recognizing the need for new, high-throughput technologies to develop customized libraries, NIGMS announces support for two Centers of Excellence in Chemical Methodologies and Library Development (CMLD). Each center is a collaborative effort involving several researchers and projects. NIGMS is awarding a total of more than $5.5 million for the first year of these 5-year awards. Over their lifetime, the grants together are expected to total more than $20 million.

Directing the two new centers are:

  • Dr. John A. Porco of Boston University, whose center focuses on the asymmetric synthesis of complex, natural-product-like molecules and scaffolds, as well as the generation of libraries of even more complex structures by coupling these compounds.
  • Dr. Peter Wipf of University of Pittsburgh, whose center seeks to develop methods for synthesizing libraries of novel peptide mimetics; invent fluoropolymer-based microreactors for nanoscale, highly parallel organic synthesis; and discover innovative new methods for facilitating the synthesis of libraries using fluorous phase separation strategies.

"The intent of this initiative is to attract the best academic chemists to develop a wide range of versatile, dependable, library-related methods," said Dr. Judith H. Greenberg, acti
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Contact: Alisa Zapp Machalek
alisa.machalek@nih.gov
301-496-7301
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
10-Oct-2002


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