Our lab’s research revolves around atropisomerism, a form of chirality that arises from hindered rotation about a bond.
Atropisomerism differs from other forms of chirality as racemization can occur spontaneously via bond rotation, however, when there are large groups adjacent to the axis (as is the case with the famous ligand BINAP) atropisomers can be stereochemically stable. Atropisomerism is ubiquitous throughout drug discovery, however, is often overlooked as most examples exist as rapidly racemizing mixtures. While these molecules may be optically inactive, they will interact with their protein target in an atroposelective fashion, with the nonrelevant atropisomer contributing little to the desired activities. At SDSU our lab has set forth to exploit atropisomerism as a design principle towards selective inhibitors of highly conserved classes of enzymes that have remained recalcitrant to selective inhibitors.