Medicinal Chemistry



Whitman, Christian P., Ph.D.
Division Head of Med. Chem.
Romeo T. Bachand, Jr. Regents Professor
BME 6.202A

Research Interests

Our research focuses on mechanistic and structural studies of enzymes involved in the bacterial catabolism of aromatic and halogenated compounds.  The specific enzymes examined under study are found in the tautomerase superfamily and the fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH) superfamily.  In addition to advancing our general understanding of enzyme mechanisms, these studies provide insight into how enzymes evolve and how new activities emerge.  It has become incumbent upon us to understand this process due to the ever-increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other drug-resistant organisms such as M. tuberculosis.  Although there are several strategies for overcoming resistance (synthesis of new compounds, identification of new targets, inhibition of enzymes conferring resistance), a better understanding of how these new activities evolve in the first place might suggest some alternative and more effective approaches.

These studies have led us in a number of different directions.  Most recently, for example, we have identified a tautomerase superfamily member (designated TomN) in a biosynthetic pathway for one ring of the anti-tumor, tomaymycin.  Tomaymycin is one of the pyrrolo[1,4]benzodiazepine natural products that includes anthramycin and sibiromycin.  The C ring of tomaymycin is generated in five enzyme-catalyzed steps from L-tyrosine.  The genes encoding these enzymes have recently been cloned and their functions tentatively assigned, but there is limited biochemical evidence supporting the assignments of the last three steps. We are currently characterizing the enzymatic and non-enzymatic chemistry in the pathway.  The ultimate goal is to use these enzymes to generate new, more potent tomaymycin analogues that are synthetically inaccessible. 

More information about Dr. Whitman
> Enzyme Images
> Publications
Last Reviewed: July 11, 2011

Division Information

Mailing Address:
The University of Texas
at Austin
Medicinal Chemistry
BME 6.202
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas
at Austin
2409 University Ave.
Stop A1900
Austin, TX, USA

Email Address: pharmacy

Phone: 512-471-5263
Fax: 512-232-2606

College Mourns Creed Abell

Creed Wills Abell III, Ph.D., of Austin, died Tuesday, September 9, 2014.

Dr. Abell was internationally recognized for his contribution to neurochemistry and neurobiology. His work contributed to the scientific information and understanding regarding diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's and to the understanding of how aging affects neurological function.

>Read more.

index of the major headings: a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z