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Welcome to the Sanhueza Research Group

Organic synthesis     Medicinal chemistry     Glycosciences

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

St. John's University

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About us

​Our research group is interested in carbohydrate chemistry and synthesizing saccharides and glycomimetics as drug candidates. Our primary focus is on non-conventional synthetic methods and glycans associated with neglected tropical diseases (NTD) such as Trypanosoma cruzi (Chagas disease), Schistosoma mansoni (Schistosomiasis), and Leishmania donovani (Leishmaniasis). Current projects in our group are directed to synthesize carbohydrate fragments associated with cell surface glycans of parasites to develop vaccine candidates and serological detection tools. Other research lines in our group include: the design of glycomimetic inhibitors of bacterial AB5 toxins, the design of anti-carbohydrate antibody ligands to develop anti-allergy drugs, and the development of electrosynthetic methods in carbohydrate chemistry.

Why carbohydrates?

The biological functions of sugars extend far beyond their classical roles as energy sources and structural building blocks. The recent progresses on the development of synthetic methods to prepare complex glycans and the advancement of bioanalytical techniques have unveiled the paramount roles of glycans in various physiological and pathological processes. To date, it is well known that glycosylation is one of the most common post-translational modifications of proteins and that many biological functions start from the molecular recognition of a glycan by a protein receptor. Homeostasis, muscular integrity, inflammation, tumor metastasis, infection, and immune response are some examples of biological processes involving protein-carbohydrate interactions. We are interested in developing synthetic strategies to synthesize carbohydrates and glycomimetics that could serve as drug candidates or molecular probes aimed at neglected and emerging infectious diseases. 

Group News

August, 2023

We welcome new PhD. student Sharmila Pinaro! Sharmila will work on electrochemical glycosylation and the design of glycomimetic bacterial toxin inhibitors. 

October 1, 2022

Welcome Mehak Makhija! our new MS Medicinal Chemistry student. Mehak will work on designing glycomimetic inhibitors against bacterial toxins. 

October 1, 2022

We welcome our new MS Chemistry students Alesia Bilbili and Jeetan Kaur. Alesia will start a brand new project on hyaluronidase inhibitors and Jeetan will continue pushing the boundaries of carbohydrate electrochemistry. 

March 15, 2021

Jeetan Kaur has joined our group as undergraduate researcher. Jeetan is a 3rd year chemistry student. Welcome Jeetan!

July 31, 2020

Dhwani has successfully defended her MSc thesis titled: aGal antigen and rutinose glycosides as model compounds for the design of classical and conformational glycomimetics. Congratulations Dhwani!

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