Sherri C Young
Associate Professor, Chemistry
Organic chemistry is at the core of my teaching interests. In all of my courses, I describe the medicinal and biological applications of organic chemistry as well as real-world examples. In addition, I am fascinated by the pharmaceutical industry and the drug discovery and development process. Some of my recently developed courses (medicinal chemistry and pharma: a scientific approach) cover these topics in detail. I have an interest in further contributing to the integrative learning curriculum, either in the form of a linked course or a standalone interdisciplinary course.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
My research interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology. Broadly, I am interested in improving the pharmacokinetics (PK) and clinical efficacy of known drugs by altering their physicochemical properties. It is a common misconception that drugs only fail because of weak receptor binding or high toxicity. Drugs can also fail to reach the market because of poor PK properties. Hence, there is a large and accessible arsenal of viable drug leads just waiting to be improved upon.
Drugs intended to treat CNS disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often suffer from low clinical efficacy because they are blocked entrance to the brain by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). My current research focuses on improving the BBB permeability of known drugs by linking them to high-permeability shuttles. My students use solid-phase organic synthesis, a method that involves a reagent or product attached to a polymer bead. This is used to synthesize peptidomimetics, column chromatography for purification and thin layer chromatography, NMR spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry for product characterization. Finally, an in-vitro membrane permeability assay is used to assess the BBB permeability of these novel compounds.