The main research focus of Velu Lab is Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery. We have research projects specifically targeting the discovery of anti-cancer and anti-infective agents. Students who work on these projects will be trained broadly in the areas of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. More specifically, they will be trained in Organic Synthesis, Spectroscopy, Structure Based Drug discovery, Structure Activity Relationship Studies, Lead Identification and Optimization, In-Silico Virtual Screening and Molecular Modeling.
Anti-Breast Cancer Agents from Marine Alkaloids: In spite of the recent advances in computational approaches for lead identification and drug discovery, natural products remain an important source of novel anticancer agents. Marine natural products are compounds obtained from marines invertebrate animals such as sponges, mollusks, ascidians etc. Our laboratory has focused recent research on the development of novel marine alkaloid analogs for human breast cancer therapy.
Discovery of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Blockers: The ability to prevent or slow down metastasis would represent a major breakthrough in cancer therapy. Fortunately, our increasing understanding of the metastatic process has recently resulted in the discovery of new potential drug targets to prevent / slow metastasis. One such target is the Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels (VGSC). This project targets the discovery of VGSC blockers that could prevent / slow down breast cancer metastasis.
Inhibitors of Staphylococcus aureus Sortase A: This is a structure based drug discovery project for the discovery of inhibitors of bacterial enzyme, S. aureus Sortase A. The enzyme plays a key role in anchoring surface proteins on bacterial cell wall. We hypothesize that Sortase A inhibitors will render S. aureus nonadherent and consequently less virulent. By interrupting bacterial adherence, the initial step in the pathogenesis of bacterial infections, S. aureus will be poorly equipped to cause disease and may be more effectively cleared by host innate immune defenses and/or antibiotics.