Research

General Overview

The research in our research group combine the fields of organic synthesis, biosynthesis, medicinal chemistry, and physical-organic chemistry. Primarily we are interested in the following three areas

Project 1: plant secondary metabolites derived from phenylpropanoids or phenols. Our main interest goes to lignans and neolignanes, and their antileishmanial, anthelmintic, anticancer, and antiviral properties.

Project 2: area of unnatural diterpenoids, especially ent-kaurenes and their metabolites such as stevia or gibberellins. We are interested in their synthesis, synthesis of their derivatives especially those connected with in planta properties, and in their anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties.

Project 3: development of new synthetic methods and reagents designed to work as chiral organocatalysts in asymmetric transformations, and as a key building blocks for Divergent-Oriented synthesis.

Project 1: Phenols and Phenylpropanoids

Project focused on the plant secondary metabolites

Our research focus on (semi) synthesis of natural and unnatural lignans and neolignanes and their derivatives. The potential of these compounds as bioactive substances in antileishmanial and anthelmintic tests is studied. In addition, the mode of action within the targeted biological systems is studied in collaborations with biologists. 

                          

Project 2: Gibberellins and ent-kaurens

Project focuses on ent-kaurene, its derivatives and products that are issued by biochemical transformations of ent-kaurene within the plant biochemical pathways. These substances belong to the group of diterpenoids (tetracycles-C20) and are present in plants of the genus Isodon. These plants, especially Isodon Lamiaceae, are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat various diseases associated with inflammation and cancer. Ent-kaurene (2-7) is then transformed within plants by ent-kaurene oxidases to steviol (2-12), or GA12-aldehyde (GA12-ald). Gibberellins (GA) belongs to the second group of compounds we are interest in. GAs are plant growth hormones, and we are interested in their synthesis (and in the synthesis of their derivatives) and in investigation of their biological activity. 

Project 3: Pluripotent molecules and novel chiral Bronsted acids for organic catalysis

In this project we focus on (a) the development of novel pluripotent molecules (PM) for diversity-oriented synthesis, and (b) novel chiral Bronsted acids (BA) for organocatalytic reactions.

Pluripotent molecules (PM) are compounds designed to serve as a platform for skeletal diversity-introduction in diversity-oriented synthesis. Using such reagents, we should be able to readily constitute skeletally diverse chemical libraries further exploitable in medicinal chemistry. The key of success in our approach is to develop PM molecule with several functional groups that can be independently reacted.

Since recently we are also interested in organocatalytic reactions catalyzed with new generation of pKa tunable chiral Bronsted acids. Stay tuned for news that will be posted hopefully soon!