Research + Discoveries

  • Beratan, Therien and Collaborators Pack a Porphyrin into a Protein Puzzle

    The de novo design of a protein capable of binding a cofactor in a unique orientation is a challenging problem because a range of structurally similar, yet different, complexes are often formed. Now, a team led by former graduate student Nick Polizzi and by Professors David N. Beratan and Michael J. Therien at Duke, and by Professor William F. DeGrado at UCSF, report a protein — designed entirely from first principles — that binds a small-molecule cofactor in a unique and precisely predetermined orientation (shown schematically on the journal cover).

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  • Malcolmson Lab Discloses New Reagent for Enantioselective Amine Synthesis

    The Malcolmson lab has reported a new class of reagents, 2-azadienes, for the catalytic enantioselective construction of chiral amines.  The 2-azadienes demonstrate reverse polarity (umpolung) of an enamine, facilitating catalytic addition of a nucleophile to its N-b-carbon and subsequent stereoselective electrophile trap at the a-carbon.  In this work, they illustrate the power of these reagents in reductive couplings with ketones for chemo-, diastereo-, and enantioselective preparation of 1,2-amino tertiary alcohols.  These motifs have been previously inaccessible by catalytic enantiosele

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  • Beratan Group Explains New Class of Electron Bifurcation Reactions

    Biology is well known to manipulate energy using proton-coupled electron transfer and phosphorylation reactions.  It was found recently that energy conversion can also occur via a new class of reactions, known as electron bifurcation reactions.  Remarkably, these reactions send one electron “uphill” and one “downhill,” enabling the overall reaction to satisfy the demands of thermodynamics.  Jonathon Yuly, a graduate student working with Profs.

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  • Wang, Malcolmson and Warren Labs Promoting Hyperpolarization of 15N2-Diazirines for Novel NMR/MR Imaging Strategies

    The Wang, Malcolmson and Warren labs have teamed up to use diazirines as molecular imaging tags for biomedical applications.  Diazirines are an attractive class of potential molecular tags for magnetic resonance imaging with their biocompatibility and ease of incorporation into a large variety of molecules.

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  • Charbonneau Lab and Collaborators Cheat Time

    Equilibrating glass-forming liquids is notoriously hard; Duke chemists and their collaborators in France have developed a way to circumvent this obstacle, enabling studies of extremely sluggish liquids. The results were just published in Proceedings the National Academy of Sciences and Physical Review Letters.

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