Organic Chemistry Seminar: Dr. Steve Zimmerman, University of Illinois

November 19, 2018 - 12:00 PM - 01:00 PM

Dr. Steve Zimmerman



New Approaches to Drug Discovery and Delivery: From Cell-Penetrating Synthetic Oligomers to Organic Synthesis Within Cells


A major unsolved problem in medicinal chemistry is how to get large molecules (MW >500) into cells. Cell permeability is a particularly important problem when the target is polyvalent because oligo- or polyvalent drugs invariably have large sizes and molecular weights easily in excess of 1000 and diffuse very slowly across membranes. We have been developing oligovalent therapeutic agents to target the repeating DNA and RNA sequences that cause myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1). This talk will describe those efforts and in particular the two approaches to get comparatively large agents into cells. The first involves polymeric metal-based catalysts that in a very broad sense mimic metalloenzymes. The ultimate goal is to have these nanoscale materials build larger, more active therapeutic agents within living cells. The water-soluble, polymeric nanoparticles we have developed use substrate binding to accelerate organic reactions and protect the metal from the competitive environment of the cell. Performing organic synthesis in the complex environment of a living cell is especially challenging. The second approach is to create inherently cell-permeable oligomeric agents. Progress on each of the above topics will be presented.


Carol Lynch Lecture Hall

Chemistry Complex

Attached Document: 

Host: Winkler


Department of Chemistry

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