Associate Professor Mike Perkins

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20012020

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Research Interests

The search for new drugs, with unique activities to combat the ever increasing strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria and to provide better treatments for diseases from cancer to AIDS, is an important international research area.   This search has driven the chemical investigation of a huge range of terrestrial and aquatic organisms leading to the isolation of a vast array of novel chemical structures varying from rather simple to enormously complex.   The amount of the compounds isolated from the organisms is usually minute and for this reason laboratory synthesis, where possible, is the only way to obtain sufficient compound for comprehensive biological testing.   Furthermore, these syntheses must be highly stereoselective, as any biological function the compounds exhibit is critically dependent on their three dimensional shape. This basic idea has inspired the Perkins research group to develop new stereoselective synthetic methodologies for the total synthesis of novel structures.   This research has resulted in the total synthesis of (-) €‘membrenone €‘A, -B and €“C, two metabolites from Siphonaria australis, the putative structure of tridachiahydropyrone, ( €“)-maurenone and auripyrone-A.

Our research program is focused on the stereo-selective synthesis of certain polypropionates.   Polypropionates are typified by the macrolide antibiotics and many of these compounds have medical applications.   This class includes a number of compounds isolated from marine molluscs (examples include auripyrone, dolabriferol, the tridachiapyrones and the membrenones), and the biological activity often exhibited by these compounds makes them important targets for stereoselective synthesis.   These natural products are characterised by possessing highly oxygenated linear carbon chains, with methylation at alternate carbons.   The current synthetic targets in the Perkins laboratory include a number of the tridachiones, auripyrone €“B, ascosalipyrone, the spiculoic acids and dolabriferol.

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