We manipulate peptides and proteins in order to make them better drugs, catalysts and probes.
Constrained peptides comprise special chemical bonds that control their 3D structure. They are an emerging class of novel therapeutics that fill the gap between conventional drugs and biologics, combining the best attributes of small molecules and large antibodies.
Among various chemical methods reported, only very few are selective and truly biocompatible. We are developing biocompatible reactions to selective modify biomolecules under physiological conditions.
Modifying Amino Acids with Bismuth
We introduced bismuth(III) as a new reagent to modify peptides and proteins. Bismuth binds selectively to cysteine residues and can hence trigger conformational changes in biomolecules. In contrast to closely related metals like arsenic or antimony, bismuth is remarkably harmless and green.
Antiviral and Antimicrobial Agents
We translate our discoveries directly towards applications in infectious diseases research. We study enzymes from pathogenic RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and develop antiviral agents. Inspired by the Australian fauna, we develop antimicrobial peptides.