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Leishmania is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of sand fleas. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis in people, ranging from cutaneous (skin sores) to visceral (internal organs such as spleen, liver, and bone marrow) leishmaniasis. It is a disease that causes illness in more than a billion people globally, most of which are in poorer areas (CDC). To this point, there is has been no commercial vaccine developed. Our research, in collaboration with Dr. Jesse Sabatini of Picatinny Arsenal, focuses on synthesizing natural products that have shown promising anti-leishmania activity. Once optimal synthetic routes are designed, analogues of these compounds will be synthesized to determine their potency.
 
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Design and Synthesis of Caged Neurotransmitters
Understanding the specific malfunctions of the brain is necessary to develop cures for diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. We are developing caged glutamate molecules which can be delivered to specific neuron sites in an inactive form. The cage can then be removed with a pin pointed laser (hv) releasing the active glutamate to attach to the specific site of study, leading to insight on how the brain network is affected. This will facilitate the understanding of neural diseases and potentially lead to the development of treatments.
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Synthesis, characterization and analysis of fluorosulfanilamide derivatives
In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Sloop, Georgia Gwinnett College, we will seek to improve current sulfa drugs. Sulfa drugs are used in medicine as antimicrobial and antibacterial agents. By designing, synthesizing, and testing new analogues, we can potentially discover a more potent drug.
Synthesis, characterization and analysis of 1,2-indanedione derivatives
In collaboration with Dr. Joseph Sloop, Georgia Gwinnett College, selected di- and triketones derived from 1,2-indanedione will be synthesized and characterized by spectroscopic and analytical methods to set the stage for latent fingerprint elaboration efficacy testing.
 
Point of contact
LTC Richard Comitz
richard.comitz@us.army.mil