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Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program

Student Profiles

Dawn Ward, Ph.D.
Chemistry 2009

Area of Doctoral Study: Chemistry
Undergraduate Institute: Lincoln University

Research Advisor: Paul Smith , Ph.D.

Current:  Assistant Professor, Stevenson University

Description of Research

We are interested in synthesizing medical agents that have anticancer and or antiviral properties.  Our current focus is on the synthesis of analogous of UK-1, a natural compound that has significant anticancer activity through the inhibition of an enzyme topoisomerase II.  The anticancer activity of UK-1 involves the binding of Mg2+.  Similarly diketoacids, an integrase inhibitor (currently in clinical trials) inactivates the strand transfer process by binding catalytic magnesium in the active site.  By employing a different magnesium binding moiety (that of UK-1) but having similar hydrophobic functions of diketoacids we hope to synthesize of compounds that may be possible topoisomerase II and HIV integrase inhibitors.
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