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Scientific Methods & Projects

Innovative Methodology for Natural Products Chemistry, Pharmaceutical Analysis, and Drug Discovery

  • Active Principle Analysis: Development of new approaches to determine bioactive principles in natural products and make them accessible as potential drug leads
  • Purity & Bioactivity: Establishment of purity assays for mass-limited bioactive natural products; purity-activity relationships (PARs); assessment of static and residual complexity
  • New Separation Methodology: development and application of countercurrent and partition chromatography (CCC); predictive methods for CCC performance, solvent system mapping, G.U.E.S.S. methodology, ReS plotting; development of automation in CCC
  • New Spectroscopic Methodology: NMR spectroscopy, in particular 1D and 2D quantitative NMR (qNMR); hyphenated mass spectrometry (LC/MS); stereochemical analysis by NMR and ECD
  • HiFSA Fingerprinting: Structural Analysis and Dereplication by NMR using 1H iterative full Spin Analysis (HifSA); analysis of 1H NMR fingerprints and generation of HiFSA profiles; combination of HiFSA with qHNMR
  • Structural Dereplication: identification of natural products using computational models
  • Development of innovative separation regimens for the analysis of complex natural product mixtures and metabolomes
  • Validation of libraries of natural product reference materials
  • Innovation of (phyto)chemical analysis in Pharmacognosy, paired with biological evaluation of natural products and related "small" molecules

Metabolomics & Dietary Supplement Research

  • Identification of bioactive principles consisting of primordial (PRIM) and highly evolutionary (HEVO) metabolites in plants, bryophytes, and microbes (actinomycetes, fungi); spectroscopic analysis (nD and selective NMR, qNMR, LC-/GC-MS)
  • Development of metabolomic standardization methodology for the standardization of dietary supplements
  • Development of biochemomentrics for the analysis of complex bioactive principles and the asessment of synergy in natural products such as botanicals and ethnobotanicals
  • Dietary Supplements Research in multidisciplinary and collaborative programs; advancement of standardization, quality, safety, and efficacy of botanical dietary supplements; phase I and II clinical trials with natural products intervention materials
  • Bioactive principle analysis of the of botanicals used in women's health for their estrogenic, serotonergic or chemopreventive properties, and biomodifiers of dentin
  • TB Metabolomics: Research on the metabolome of non-replicating Mycobacterium tuberculosis in; identification of low molecular weight compounds in non-replicating persistence (NRP) cultures of M. tuberculosis under low oxygen conditions, as a model for dormant TB, as tool and for mechanistic insights for drug discovery
  • Natural Hormones: the medullipin/angiolysin family of endogenous antihypertensive factors; naturally occurring hormonal steroids from plants; pregnanes and related steroids

Tuberculosis & Dentistry Research

  • Anti-TB Drug Discovery and Bioassays: Purification and characterization of anti–TB secondary metabolites from actinomycetes and fungi, and their structure activity–relationships; pre-clinical development of cyclopeptides as potential anti-TB drug leads; in vitro bioassay methods for anti-TB drug discovery and activity profiling; biological testing in vitro (e.g., susceptibility assays for non-replicating persistence) and in vivo (e.g., metabolomic biomarkers) of crude and purified natural products; this research is performed in collaboration with UIC's Institute for Tuberculosis Research
  • Discovery of Biomodifiers for Restorative Dentistry: sourcing and innovative phytochemical purification and charactization of tannins (proanthocyanidins and congeners, stilbenoids) from a variety of vascular plants and their biomechanical evaluation in models relevant for the restorative treament of dental caries as the world's prevalent infectious human disease; this trans-discplinary dentistry-pharmacy program is performed in collaboration with Dr. Bedran-Russo at Marquette University's School of Denistry
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