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Research Interests - Dr. Wallace Fu

Dr. Fu is just starting his academic research projects. If you are interested in doing research with him, please contact him. The areas of his interests are: (1) mycosporin like compounds, (2) peptide synthesis and (3) factorial experimental design.

Mycosporins are natural products derived from dihydropyrogallols and amino acids. Marine organisms and plants are known to use these molecules for protection from harmful UV radiation. In this research the students will learn how to make complex molecules from simply building blocks, known chemical transformations and readily available recyclable reagents. Dr. Fu is looking for scientists from other disciplines to collaborate with him on evaluating these novel chemical substances for potential commercial applications.

Peptides are small polyamides made from natural amino acids which are sequentially joined in an orderly manner. The first synthetic peptides (pituitary gland hormones oxytocin and vasopressin) were prepared synthetically by Dr. Du Vigneaud (Chemistry Nobel 1955). Later, Dr. Merrifield at Rockefeller University developed a solid phase peptide synthesis (SPPS) method which greatly simplified the work and increased the output efficiency. For that work Merrifield received the Chemistry Nobel prize in 1984. Many commercial peptide products are produced by this approach. The research emphasis here is help the students learn to use the computer to perform the synthesis. Such specialized skills will benefit the students who intend to seek employment in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries or for students wanting to further their education in the field of peptide synthesis.

Often in a synthesis project the chemists will encounter difficulties in reaction transformations. Process conditions may have to be optimized. Here the students will learn how to apply basic statistics to solve problems. A set of experiments with carefully planned independent variables (reaction parameters) will be measured against the results (dependent variables). The desired outcome could be quantified so that quality could be reproduced with consistency. The purpose here is to introduce students to interdisciplinary approach to problem solving. It is used in many industries to solve everyday quality issues. Pharmaceutical companies, automobile manufacturers and even furniture makers can benefit from such an approach to maintain quality, increase productivity and reduce waste.

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