Mike Jung, Faculty Director
The Bioscience Synthetic Chemistry Core Facility (BSCCF) provides a dedicated laboratory for the synthesis of small organic molecules to aid bioscience research. Although high throughput screening enables the discovery of molecules with high medicinal potential, or hits, it does not render them in a viable form. The BSCCF is capable of rapidly transforming these hits into usable biological tools. The facility operates in tandem with the Molecular Screening Shared Resources (MSSR) core facility at CNSI, a high throughput facility. With the BSCCF's ability to design and prepare molecules for the testing of biological principles, which can only be done through chemical synthesis, this innovative facility, working with diverse scientific disciplines, is at the forefront of modern bioscience.
When a request for the synthesis of known compounds or analogues of screening hits is submitted by a bioscientist; this request is analyzed by Dr. Michael Jung, the facility director, in coordination with the bioscientist; the design of a synthetic protocol is generated; and lastly an assessment of the feasibility, estimated time and cost is made. Based on the outcome of those discussions about what the high-throughput hits mean and how good they are in terms of drug potential (especially likely non-selective toxicity), a decision is made on how exactly to proceed. Namely whether a synthetic project should be started within the core facility or whether it is better to follow another path, e.g., purchase library compounds, write a grant for support, hire an outside company, and questions of patents and startup opportunities.
At that point, the bioscientist has the option of continuing the collaboration, namely agreeing to the costs and time limitations of the project, which vary widely depending on the structures of the compounds desired, the number of analogues and the amount of materials needed. This initial assessment usually takes only a few days. Once a project is started, the compounds are designed, synthesized and purified by Dr. Xiaolu Cai, a skilled synthetic chemist with significant experience in synthetic chemistry and drug discovery.
UCLA is one of the preeminent institutions in the world for bioscience research and the BSCCF provides bioscience researchers with the synthesis of small organic molecules which are critical to their research work. The facility has the necessary capabilities to perform synthesis rapidly, on request and in-house, saving valuable research time and perhaps leading to drug discovery. The facility provides convenient access to readily usable molecules for the advancement of biology and research aimed at treating human diseases in the 21st century.
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