Chem Coach Carnival

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>> Sunday, October 28, 2012

It's a great pleasure to be a part of ChemCoachCarnival that has been started at Justlikecooking by See Arr Oh. He has asked people working in chemistry to answer few questions (as below) which can be helpful for those interested in chemistry.

Your current job
What you do in a standard "work day."
What kind of schooling/training/experience helped you get there?
How does chemistry inform your work?
Finally, a unique, interesting, or funny anecdote about your career.

It's such a great idea to celebrate National chemistry week, loved it. Here is my entry for the carnival.

Your current Job

Postdoctoral research scholar (synthetic medicinal chemist) working on anticancer drug discovery.

What you do in a standard "work day."

Work day starts with a refreshing cup of coffee. Daily work roughly divides into bench work and paper works.
  • Bench work includes putting reaction, purification (workup, column) and analysis (NMR, HPLC, LC/MS)
  • Paper work includes searching and reading articles, analyzing spectral data, and writing manuscript.
Switching between works, whenever possible, is a great idea to reduce monotony (at least for me). What do you say?

What kind of schooling/training/experience helped you get there?

I did my bachelor in Pharmacy. After my undergraduate, I got an opportunity to complete both my master and PhD in medicinal chemistry (subject of my interest) with same supervisor.

How does chemistry inform your work?

Well, it teaches me how to make new molecules, what functional groups or pharmacophores are essential for the biological activity and how to add or change these pharmacophores.

Finally, a unique, interesting, or funny anecdote about your career.

Among many funny situation, one that always come in my mind is the incident when I got scared by Liquid nitrogen tank. The incident took place when I was in my first semeter of Master course. I was learning LC/MS with my senior in the instrumental room. All of sudden, in the middle of the experiment, there was a loud noise. I started running to find the exit door. Immediately, my senior asked me to stop and started laughing loudly. Later, I realized that the sound was from the liquid nitrogen tank produced as a result of gas release to prevent excessive pressure build-up in the tank. Though it was scary and embarrasing moment, it always amuses me whenever I recall.

How to work-up reaction using separatory funnel?

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>> Monday, June 18, 2012

separatory funnel, liquid-liquid extraction
As you know, to get a pure compound is not an easy task. Here, I am going to write about the work-up process (liquid-liquid extraction) using separatory funnel, one of the methods for the purification of crude compound. I hope it will be helpful for you. In this method, two immiscible solvents, aqueous and organic solvent (ethyl acetate, methylene chloride etc) are used which allows the removal of water soluble impurities present in the reaction mixture. 

Work-up procedure

Transfer the reaction mixture completely into the separatory funnel using the appropriate organic solvent. "Be cautious to close the stopcock". After that pour distilled water into the separatory funnel. Hold the stopper tightly and shake the reaction mixture gently. "Be sure to release the pressure- hold the stopper tightly, invert the funnel pointing outlet upwards and open the stopcock (See the video below)".
I want to share my bitter experience here. Once, while doing work-up (during shaking), I forgot to release the pressure. As soon as I kept the separatory funnel to stand, solvent splashed out of the separatory funnel through the stopper. Oh gosh! You can imagine the situation.:(

New approach could identify antiviral drugs against wide range of viruses

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>> Wednesday, May 09, 2012

idarubicin, antiviral, interferon signaling
Research team led by Michael J. Holtzman, MD, from Washington University, US, has recently reported the possibility of novel strategy to find small molecules that can enhance the host defense system against a broad range of viruses. The compounds were tested for their ability to increase the interferon signaling pathway (IFN-pathway) which mediates the host defense against a wide range of viruses. The team has conducted the cell-based high throughput screening of 2240 compounds which led to 64 hit compounds with significant interferon-stimulated response element ISRE) activity being idarubicin hydrochloride the most potent. Idarubicin, an anthracycline, is used as anti-cancer agent. DNA intercalation and topoisomerase II inhibition is responsible for its anti-cancer activity. To confirm that increased ISRE activity by idarubicin is independant of topoisomerase inhibitory effect, the team tested other three potent topoisomerase inhibitors (Etoposide, Hu-0331, and ICRF-193) for the ISRE activity. Interestingly, they found these compounds did not show significant increase in ISRE activity. Instead, two of them (etoposide and Hu-0331) caused decreased ISRE activity.

Pazopanib approved for soft tissue sarcoma

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>> Saturday, April 28, 2012

pazopanib, angiogenesis inhibitor, soft tissue sarcoma
Pazopanib (Votrient) from GlaxoSmithKline has been approved by FDA for the treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have previously received chemotherapy. Soft tissue sarcoma is a rare cancer which begins in soft tissues such as muscle, fat, fibrous etc. Pazopanib is a potent anti-angiogenic agent, which means it interferes with the growth of new blood vessels essential for growth and survival of solid tumors.
You may like to read angiogenesis and anti-angiogenic foods
It was approved in 2009 for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer. 
The common side effects of Votrient includes fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, weight loss, high blood pressure, decreased appetite, vomiting, tumor and muscle pain, hair color changes, a distorted sense of taste, shortness of breath, and skin discoloration.
For more details, here is FDA news release.

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