This project deals with the discovery of unique marine natural products that may provide leads for the development of anti-cancer agents. Our continuing overall objective is to obtain compounds both fundamentally new molecular structures and potential in anticancer drug development. To effectively address such a broad goal requires a collaborative effort between marine natural products chemistry, cell biology and organism biology. All of these elements are present in the experimental design and in the available facilities. Indo-Pacific marine sponges (sometimes collected by MBRS student participants) are the initial materials used in this research and they are chosen from taxonomic groups that have not been well studied. Their crude extracts are being investigated by a bioassay guided approach. Once compounds are isolated they are characterized by extensively study using such powerful spectroscopic methods as multi-dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Each MBRS student will have the option of joining one of three funded, on-going projects. The goal in this MBRS component is to expose students to the major interests of our laboratory including organic structure analysis, elucidation biosynthetic pathways, and uncovering relationships between patterns of organic structure and the phyletics of their organism source. MBRS students interested in biology, biochemistry, or bioorganic chemistry can participate. Students first learn how to organize and track experiments where the correct interpretation of initial results dictates the follow-up experiments. A parallel effort involves learning logical approaches using state-of-the-art NMR methods to solve complex problems of molecular structure analysis and determination of stereochemistry relationships. Another intent is to provide situations where research results can be compared to information obtained from both the biological and chemistry literature to derive new insights about biosynthesis or chemotaxonomy.

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University of California Santa Cruz
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