Biological and Organic Chemistry

Biological and Organic Chemistry encompasses research in the synthesis, structure and function of organic and biologically relevant molecules and the study of reaction mechanisms. The organic and biological faculty has developed a diverse range of novel synthetic methods and strategies, probes of biological function, and has also provided fundamental insights into organic reaction mechanisms and biological systems. Our rapidly expanding research program provides a stimulating environment that enables students to engage in state-of-the-art research at the forefront of biological and synthetic chemistry in a multidisciplinary research environment. We have a growing focus on research at the interface of chemistry, biology and medicine, and many of our projects are carried out in collaboration with groups from other departments and hospitals associated with the University of Toronto, or with pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Biological Chemistry: Projects cover a number of the areas where chemistry is having a major impact on biological and medical research. Our research is directed towards understanding how biological systems work, and applying our chemical knowledge in the design of new biological chemistry tools. Areas of interest include protein modification, metal-protein interactions, ion channels, biological NMR, design and control of protein structure and function, enzymology, and drug screening, to name a few.

Organic Chemistry: Projects include the development of novel synthetic methods and the application of these methods to the synthesis of biologically relevant targets, such as natural products and pharmaceuticals. At the heart of this program is a desire to gain a fundamental understanding of reaction mechanisms, catalysis and biological function. Areas of interest include metal catalysis, catalyst design, reactive intermediates, heterocycles, electrochemistry, combinatorial synthesis, natural products (including alkaloids, polyketides and terpenoids), medicinal chemistry, structure-based drug design, reaction mechanisms and computational studies.