Research Fellows Directory
Dr Alexander Cresswell
University of Bath
My research involves the development of new chemical reactions to make organic molecules containing nitrogen atoms, and particularly those in which the atoms are linked together in a ring-type arrangement (so-called 'azacycles'). These types of structures are privileged scaffolds for modern drug discovery and are present in an ever increasing number of newly-approved small molecule drugs. Many of these compounds have a property called 'chirality' which means that the molecules can exist in two mirror-image forms called 'enantiomers' (a bit like left and right hands). Because one enantiomer of a drug can often display very different biological effects to the other (the thalidomide tradegy being an oft-cited example) it is imperative that chemists are able to prepare these molecules as single mirror-image forms. Our work deals with the invention of new chemical reactions ('synthetic methods') to access complex azacycles as single enantiomers, in ways that simply cannot be achieved with existing chemistry. This has the potential to expedite the discovery of new drugs, not only by making their synthesis faster and more efficient, but by allowing chemists to explore new areas of 'chemical space' which have so far been unexplored (and where powerful new drug structures may be 'hidden').
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)