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Design and Synthesis of Potent and Selective T. gondii Inhibitors that may Lead to New Medications for the Prevention and Treatment of Schizophrenia

Student: Nilushi Abeysinghe

Major: Chemistry with Math Minor

Hometown: Sri Lanka

Project Description: Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an obligated intracellular parasite in the phylum Apicomplexa. Recent studies have identified T. gondii as contributing environmental factor in the onset of schizophrenia. The design and synthesis of potent and selective T. gondii inhibitors may lead to new medications for the prevention and treatment of schizophrenia. Recently, the natural product, tryptanthrin, was found to be a potent T. gondii inhibitor. But due to the low solubility in water of this compound, the usefulness is hampered. My approach to address this problem is to increase the number of heteroatoms such as oxygen and nitrogen on tryptanthrin to increase its solubility. To do this a library of 6-oxime and 6-hydrazone derivatives of tryptanthrin was synthesized.

Why was I interested/ How do I feel about UROP?:
I have always wanted to work in a lab and do research where I can show my capabilities of laboratory skills. UROP have given me the opportunity to pursue my interests and I have also learnt many different techniques and methods, in chemistry, biochemistry and biology. This will also prepare me to carry on my forensic science degree in the future.

SCSE UROP Coordinator

Penny Morton, Assistant Dean
229 Heller Hall
(218) 726-7962

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