Heterocycle synthesis leads to better drugs

The life of a drug goes through many trials and several critical stages during its journey from the laboratory to the human body. One such important stage is heterocycle synthesis.

Sandeep Pimparkar, a researcher with the IITB-Monash Research Academy, works in the field of heterocyclic chemistry — a branch of organic chemistry that deals with the synthesis, properties, and applications of heterocycles. Heterocyclic compounds contain at least one heteroatom like nitrogen or oxygen in their ring, and they include all nucleic acids, many drugs, most biomass (cellulose and related materials), and many natural and synthetic dyes.

Figure 1. Diversity and use of heterocycle via Palladium catalysis

Sandeep’s project is titled, ‘Synthesis of bioactive heterocycles via multiple C-H activation’ and he is working under the supervision of Prof Debabrata Maiti and Prof David Lupton.

“Heterocycle synthesis is one of the key steps for preparing drugs/medicines that save lives and help cure diseases,” explains Sandeep. “Our work focuses on the very basic part of drug development — that is designing novel, better and efficient processes to make a valuable heterocyclic core that is present in 95% drugs.”

“Chemistry is my favourite subject. Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to make my mark in this field,” he continues. “Drugs like aspirin (the most consumed drug in the world) and zidovudine (one of the first drugs against HIV/AIDS) have touched lives on a global scale. I too would like to work on something that will transform the way we deal with diseases.”

Says Prof. Murali Sastry, CEO of the Academy, “The IITB-Monash Research Academy was conceived as a unique model for how two leading, globally focused academic organisations can come together in the spirit of collaboration to deliver solutions and outcomes to grand challenge research questions facing industry and society. Graduate research scholars like Sandeep study for a dually-badged PhD from both IIT Bombay and Monash University, spending time at both institutions to enrich their research experience. Synthesis of heterocycles is a critical aspect of chemistry which is expected to lead to processes that are less harmful to the environment and drugs that are both effective and economical. Good luck to researchers like Sandeep!”

Research scholar: Sandeep Pimparkar , IITB-Monash Research Academy

Project title: Synthesis of bioactive heterocycles via multiple C-H activation

Supervisors: Prof. Debabrata Maiti & Prof. David Lupton

Contact details: sandeep.pimparkar@monash.edu, spimparkar@iitb.ac.in

This story was written by Mr Krishna Warrier based on inputs from the research student, his supervisors and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.