Discovery of new medications and medical technologies that largely benefit human health has laid new road-map for the incorporation of biology in the field of chemistry. Research in our lab is at the interface of inorganic chemistry and biology where we develop new drugs and design novel vaccines with enhanced therapeutic potential. To accomplish these goals, we utilize metal-ligand interactions (bioinorganic chemistry) and bioconjugation strategies (bioorganic chemistry) as a tool to study and manipulate complex site-selective reactivity. The application of these tools, in our lab, are summarized below:
Targeting metal – ligand interaction dynamics for site-selective drug discovery: The rapid emerging investigation in the field of metalloenzymes and coordination chemistry is establishing a new platform for utilization of metal-biologically relevant ligand interactions for development of new drugs with therapeutic application for illnesses, such as, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, metabolic or autoimmune syndromes, and microbial infections. Specifically, this project includes, a). Design and synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant drugs by employing metal – ligand interactions dynamics, b). Synthesis of transition metal complexes with a potential to undergo biological processes like, electron transfer, small molecule catalytic activation and redox sensing, and c). explore new avenues for these ligands and metal complexes as an antioxidant, photosensitizers, anion recognition, and metal ion sensor.
Engineering viable vaccines through rational design to combat drug of abuse: Off late, bio-conjugation strategies are being used to design vaccines that can mitigate the effect of certain drugs, haptens, hormones, peptides and polysaccharides by antibody neutralization. The traditional method of inducing antibody based protective immune response is known to cause prominent side effects. Our research focus is to design vaccines against drug of abuse that cause a major social health issue in various regions of India. These drugs of interest, when conjugated with carrier proteins via linker, tend to stimulate the immune response and upon formulation with suitable adjuvants, can play a significant role in vaccine application. These conjugates mimic the immunogenic properties of natural pathogens and thereby enable vaccines to target specific intracellular cascade. Such remarkable advancements in bioconjugation chemistry has chiefly contributed to the recent development of vaccines against cancer, microbial infection, and drug of abuse. Specifically, this project includes, synthesis of anti-drug vaccine, development of biological and chemical tools to improve biochemical and behavioral efficacy of vaccine and identification of the pharmacology and interactions of relevant drugs in combination with one another, and henceforth mitigate their synergistic effect, if any.