Biochemistry, Bioorganic Chemistry and Chemical Biology

Understand and manipulate the chemistry of biological systems through chemistry and biochemistry research at Central Michigan University.

Dr. Anton Jensen

We are using model compounds to study mechanisms of enzymatic reactions. We are especially interested in reactions that use cofactors derived from vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B3 (niacin). The cofactors include NADH/NADPH, FAD, FMN, and others. Students in my lab typically gain expertise in the areas of organic synthesis, separation, spectroscopic analysis, and enzyme inhibition/kinetics.

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Dr. Stephen Juris

My research interests are focused on the biochemical and cell biological action of bacterial toxins that target the actin cytoskeleton. Pathogenic bacteria often secrete toxins that target the cytoskeleton in order to subvert the immune defenses of their host. These toxins must gain access to the cytosol of target cells via transport across a biological membrane in order to carry out their function. Once inside the target cell, these bacterial toxins carry out a multitude of different activities including proteolysis, phosphorylation, or other post-translational modification of host proteins in order to down-regulate signaling cascades connected with the actin cytoskeleton in order to inhibit innate immune processes including phagocytosis and chemotaxis. My goals are to understand the transport of the actin-targeting toxin MARTX from Vibrio cholerae across cellular membranes and its subsequent action on the actin cytoskeleton within target cells. My lab utilizes biochemistry, cell biology, biophysics and genetics to study these questions.

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Dr. Choon Lee

Investigation of anti-cancer agents; Synthesis of antioxidant dendrimers for biological applications.

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Dr. Ajit Sharma

My laboratory is involved in the synthesis and characterization of dendrimers for biomedical applications using various bio-conjugation methodologies, RP-HPLC, SEC-HPLC, MS, IEF and PAGE. We are currently collaborating with faculty and researchers in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department, Biology Department, Medical School (CMED) and in Europe on the application of dendrimers and their derivatives in oxidative stress, neurodegenerative diseases and vaccines.

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Dr. Ben Swarts

Our research draws from the fields of organic chemistry, biochemistry, and microbiology to develop chemical biology tools for investigating and targeting cell envelope components in mycobacteria and related bacteria, which include the pathogen that causes tuberculosis. We are particularly interested in developing new carbohydrate-based probes to study the composition, dynamics, and functions of the mycobacterial outer membrane, or mycomembrane, which we are actively targeting for tuberculosis drug and diagnostic development.