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Synthetic and Biological Studies of Natural Products
Synthetic chemists traditionally use catalysts as tools to convert substrates to products. Likewise, biologists use complex
organic molecules as tools to convert cells of a certain type to another. Such organic molecules are often natural products
that are produced by bacteria, fungi, plants, and marine sponges. However, large quantities of precious natural sources are
often sacrificed to obtain minute quantities of natural products. Chemical synthesis is a viable alternative approach toward
producing natural products in large quantities. To make natural products available for biological studies, we have synthesized
FR901464 (please see our published paper for details) and are engaged in syntheses of other medicinally important natural
products shown below to study cancer, gene activation, and aging.

FR901464 is a remarkably potent antitumor agent that regulates the transcription of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.
Stresgenin B is the most potent drug that counteracts the resistance developed in cancer patients treated with radiotherapy.
Curvularol converts cancer cells to normal cells. Yohimbine has recently been found to activate RNA translation by a unique
mechanism. Resveratrol is a component in green tea that acts as antioxidant to suppress DNA damage and aging.