Biological and Medicinal Chemistry


Synthesis of complex natural and active substances (Copyright: CC0 Creative Commons,

This research area comprises the synthesis and isolation of complex natural products and active ingredients, as well as structure/function studies on biomolecules, from small molecules to various biopolymers, whose functional properties are examined in organic, inorganic, biophysical, analytical and biological chemistry.

Important classes of compounds are based on low-molecular metal coordination compounds that can possibly be used for cancer treatment, and have already been developed as far as the stage of clinical trial on patients. Combined with various ways of tumour targeting and state-of-the-art analysis of distribution in tissues, innovative cancer treatment strategies are being developed in close cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna.

New methods for the selective chemical modelling and synthesis of peptides and proteins permit the investigation of biologically relevant modified proteins that cannot be accessed in other ways. This is relevant for the analysis of disease-related processes in the areas of neuro-degeneration and the development of cancer at the molecular level. In addition, these methods can be used for designing completely synthetic molecules with properties similar to antibodies, for finding improved vaccines and for improving the absorption of therapeutics.

Amino acid precursors and components with new isotopic labelling patterns and post-translational modifications are generated for the synthesis of proteins, for the specific modification of target proteins and to permit structure/function studies. Structure studies on proteins by means of NMR and crystallography are used to understand the functions of different proteins in atomic resolution. Here, metalloproteins are of particular interest. Developing improved conditions for crystallisation by using polyoxymetalates as crystallisation additives constitutes a particular link between biological and inorganic chemistry. The synthesis of bioactive hydrocarbons and of compounds interacting with DNA and RNA opens up additional areas in the fields of biological and medicinal chemistry.