Masthead image




Research in the Young Lab involves the integration of Chemistry and Biology to develop novel chemical tools to address biological questions. There are several primary areas of research investigated within the lab:

1) Chemoselective Glaser-Hay Couplings

The Glaser-Hay reaction involves the coupling of two terminal alkynes. While synthetically useful, chemoselectivity issues have precluded its widespread application. In order to address these issues we immobilize one alkyne on a solid support. We are currently applying these technologies towards the preparation of polyyne libraries and natural products with biological relevance.




2) Unnatural Amino Acids

The expansion of the genetic code to incorporate unnatural amino acids represents a novel mechanism to diversify the chemical potential of proteins. We are involved in the synthesis and site-specific incoproation of unnatural amino acids utilizing the Schultz methodology in E. coli. A variety of unnatural amino acids have been introduced to both alter protein function and afford bioothogonal chemical handles for applications such as protein immobilization.



3) Development of small-molecule miRNA assays 

The discovery of the vital role miRNAs play in disease progression has made them ideal targets for drug intervention. We are interested in developing both in vitro and in vivo assays to elucidate small molecule modifiers of miRNA activity.




4) Application of Microwaves to Biology

While microwave irradiation has typically been employed in the chemical realm, due to the unique properties of biomacromolecules we are interested in investigating their utility in a biological settting. This includes the activation of enzymatic properties, microwave-mediated PCR reactions and microwave-assisted DNA transformations.