Development of New Medicinal Agents Using Natural Product Scaffolds
One research area of the Pongdee Research Group is the design and development of architecturally novel small molecule therapeutics based upon natural product scaffolds. With this in-mind, we are pursuing structure-activity-relationship (SAR) studies of the resorcylic acid lactone pochonin J as a means to access potentially more potent analogues for biological evaluation. In conjunction with our SAR analysis of pochonin J, we also aim to resolve a discrepancy regarding the absolute stereochemistry of pochonin J that has been reported.
The use of wild-type or engineered enzymes for the construction of various structural motifs found in biologically-active natural products has garnered significant attention from researchers as a means to access diverse chemical libraries for biological testing. We are studying enzymes involved in biological pathways that could prove useful in the design of structurally new compounds with enhanced biological profiles.
Ron is also invested in the development of classroom and laboratory materials that employ the POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning) active-learning pedagogy. In POGIL, students work in small self-managed teams learning both discipline-specific content as well as invaluable process skills. Currently, Ron is working on activities for the 2-semester introductory organic chemistry sequence.