Nikko Sambold Rose Hills
Engineering Halogenase Enzymes for Selective Chlorination of Therapeutics
Halogens, a group of atoms with properties not commonly encountered in nature, can introduce unique chemical properties to small molecules that can create important interactions with biomolecules. It is thus reflective that halogens are found in roughly 25% of pharmaceuticals and have been playing a larger role in the development of agrochemicals. Unfortunately, modern synthetic techniques for adding halogens onto these molecules use harsh chemicals and are not selective. This is a problem which halogenase enzymes, enzymes that can add halogens, with their ability to react in mild conditions and have excellent control over both regio- and stereoselectivity, can easily solve. However, such enzymes are very rare and their substrates are limited to naturally occurring substrates. This summer, I hope to study these enzymes in order to gain a deeper understand of how they catalyze this selective chemical reaction. With this information, I will be able to generalize their selectivity to other substrates including pharmaceuticals and their precursors.