Chris is a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Gary Sulikowski at Vanderbilt University. His current research is geared towards the total synthesis of Chrysophaentin A, an antimicrobial marine natural product. He completed his B.S. in Chemistry at Ball State University, under the direction of Dr. Robert Sammelson, we he focused on the synthesis of small molecule inhibitors of Cdc42. After leaving Vanderbilt, he plans to pursue a career in industry or academia.
Progress Towards the Total Synthesis of Chrysophaentin A
Antibiotic resistance is now known for every clinically prescribed antibiotic, which means new antibiotics with novel mechanisms of action are needed. Chrysophaentin A, a marine natural product isolated from the alga Chrysophaeum taylori, exhibits micromolar activity against gram positive bacteria including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The mechanism of action of this natural antimicrobial agent is believed to be the inhibition of FtsZ, which results in the direct inhibition of cellular division. Unfortunately further study of Chrysophaentin A has been inhibited due to its limited supply by isolation from its marine source. Total synthesis of Chrysophaentin A will not only allow further study of its novel mechanism of action but also access to other analogs for further development. To date our lab has been able to synthesize a derivative of Chrysophaentin A, which showed significant antimicrobial activity. Our immediate goal remains the total synthesis of Chrysophaentin A.