Dr. Joseph Clark, assistant professor of chemistry in Marquette University’s Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty. The $650,000 grant will be used to develop new reactions for precision labeling of small molecules, which can allow scientists to track the fate of a drug molecule in the body.
The reactions being studied will enable a specific quantity of tritium and/or deuterium to be placed at an exact location of a small molecule. The research has implications in new drug development where tritium labeled molecules have potential applications in radioligand binding assays and absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME) studies.
The objective of this project is to develop new reactions to incorporate a precise quantity of a deuterium or tritium isotope into a small molecule. Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen and is widely used as a radioactive tracer element in biological and chemical research. Small molecules containing tritium are widely used in new drug development because they can allow scientists to track the fate of a drug molecule in the body.