|Grant ID: RR200039|
Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Members
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
May 20, 2020
Creating new molecules underlies the development of any small-molecule therapeutic for cancer. The synthetic chemists who construct the scaffolding often have to invent new chemical methods to create novel drugs.
A chemist at Baylor University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is trying to incorporate inexpensive and widely available materials into the synthesis of complex cancer therapeutics. Liela Romero, an alumna of the department, was recruited in 2020 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a postdoctoral fellow, with a First-Time Tenure-Track Award from CPRIT.
Nature is the most efficient chemist in creating complex molecules, which are often toxins that protect the organism that produces them. These toxins may also have the ability to kill cancer cells. Cancer-killing natural products can be identified in screens, but then, scientists either have to extract the toxin from the organism or figure out how to recreate it in a lab.