The Samuel Danishefsky Lab: Research Overview

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The mission of the Bioorganic Chemistry Laboratory is to contribute new advances to the strategy and methodology of organic synthesis and to bring them to bear toward progress in problems of biological importance. On the whole, our laboratory performs best when projects challenge the existing state of the art of organic chemistry. These type of “edge-of-the-envelope” challenges engage the interests of some of the most talented young organic chemists in the world. We immerse ourselves in an atmosphere where challenging and thought-provoking organic chemistry is interfaced with issues of plausible biological and medical applications.

From here, fellows go on to careers within the spectrum of upper-level research oriented universities or into high-ranking pharmaceutical companies.

Problem Selection

The Bioorganic Chemistry Laboratory is dedicated to the syntheses of antitumor and anti-infective natural products, analogues thereof, and syntheses of fully synthetic carbohydrate epitope vaccines, designed with the goal of tumor recurrence suppression in mind.

Critical to the useful role which the laboratory might play at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and within larger concerns of cancer research, is the matter of problem selection. On the whole, our laboratory hopes to hone in on selected semi-validated promising targets provided through careful evaluation of relevant literature. At the chemical end, we seek problems of a complexity level conducive to new and significant learning experiences. At the biological level, we try to choose among many potential opportunities.

The ideal project for us is one with a promising profile for interfacing with pharmacologists, immunologists, and clinicians in the hope that chemical advances may be brought to the preclinical and even clinical evaluation stage with reasonable dispatch (6 months to 3 years). We focus on reasonably established targets of opportunity that may be subject to accelerated advance, if only the right kind of chemistry could be brought to bear.