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Organic Chemistry Seminar Series: Francis Yoshimoto (University of Texas SA) – via Zoom
April 19, 2021 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
To access the Zoom link, please contact Dr. Wei-chen Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Seminar:
Title: Harnessing Synthetic Chemistry to Address Biochemical Problems Related to Human Health
(Elucidating the Mechanism of Endoperoxide Formation in Artemisinin Biosynthesis)
Abstract: Artemisinin is the endoperoxide containing plant natural product that was one of the topics of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2015. The talk will discuss my research group’s efforts to elucidating the mechanism of endoperoxide formation in artemisinin using isotope labeling strategies, the syntheses of structural analogs of its biosynthetic precursor (dihydroartemisinic acid), and testing various conditions. Among our novel findings include the discovery of a new light mediated rearrangement product of artemisinin, which involves the homolytic cleavage of the O-O bond and subsequent rearrangement. Our findings are relevant in understanding how Nature produces compounds with unique structures that contain medicinal properties.
About the Speaker:
Ph.D. in Biochemistry; University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
B.S. in Chemistry; University of California, Berkeley
B.A. in Linguistics; University of California, Berkeley
Francis was born and raised in the Bay Area, California. He gained a valuable experience as an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Professor Richmond Sarpong at the University of California at Berkeley. After completing his Ph.D. in the lab of Professor Richard Auchus first at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, TX and then at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he pursued postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the laboratory of Professor Frederick Guengerich.
In 2016, Francis started his independent research career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Research in his laboratory combines interdisciplinary approaches in chemistry and biology to solve problems that will benefit human health. In this regard, studies are related to exploring the mechanisms of cytochrome P450 enzymes, a super family of enzymes found in all kingdoms of life. Humans have 57 cytochrome P450 enzymes that are directly related to a variety of human health conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and cardiovascular health. Furthermore, plants are a rich resource of cytochrome P450 enzymes, which are responsible in the production of medicinal compounds (i.e. natural products). These natural products possess many activities that benefit human health such as anti-cancer, anti-malarial, and anti-bacterial properties.
For more information about Dr. Yoshimoto and his research, please visit the Yoshimoto lab website.