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Building molecular complexity from scratch




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The journal Science publishes a commentary article on the Pauson-Khand reaction made by an expert at IRB Barcelona

Xavier Verdaguer—associate researcher in the Asymmetric Synthesis Lab, headed by Antoni Riera—writes a Science Perspectives article on an study by Chuang et al. that describes a new method for the artificial synthesis of (+)-ryanodol, a plant-derived molecule that has potential pharmaceutical applications.

The article by IRB Barcelona researcher explains a specific step in the synthesis of this compound that involves the Pauson-Khand cycloaddition. This reaction allows the generation of 5-member rings from simple fragments in a single step. This type of reaction facilitates a rapid increase in molecule complexity. When natural complex molecules with pharmaceutical properties are isolated, it is often necessary to synthesise them in order to cover demands. In this regard, finding synthetic methods is crucial for drug development.

As an expert in this kind of reaction, Verdaguer was approached by Science to give his opinion in the Perspectives section, which is devoted to comments by specialists in various fields on the articles published in the journal.


Reference article:

Verdaguer, X.

Building molecular complexity from scratch

Science, 353 (6302), 866-867 (2016)

DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5871

About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to cure cancer and other diseases linked to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society, and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 researchers and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).