A faculty member at Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) had his research published in the November 2020 Journal of Organic Chemistry. Dr. Amirsoheil Negahbani, an associate professor in the College of Health Sciences at CUKC, was included for his work to present a more general and efficient way to synthesize β,γ-CXY-dNTP stereochemical probes. The results of his efforts could impact human health in the years to come in the fight against cancer.
The title of the work is, “Completing the β,γ-CXY-dNTP Stereochemical Probe Toolkit: Synthetic Access to the dCTP Diastereomers and 31P and 19F NMR Correlations with Absolute Configurations.” According to Negahbani, it offers a “major advancement” in the organophosphorus chemistry field, which is also why it made the cover of the journal.
“Having access to these important stereochemical probes will allow scientists to study DNA polymerase enzymes that are directly linked to DNA replication process,” Negahbani said. “Error-generating DNA polymerases lead to point mutations that could lead to cancer. Certain cancer cells are immune to DNA damage because of those defected DNA polymerases that immediately neutralize the effects of certain cancer drugs and help the cancer cells to survive. Therefore, this knowledge will be used to target cancer cells by targeting the DNA polymerases responsible for the effect.”
Negahbani said there has been a substantial amount of research done in this area, but when given the chance to contribute in that arena, he embraced the opportunity.
“This topic was presented to me as part of my graduate research, which perfectly aligned with my research interest,” Negahbani said. “My passion for problem solving and making a positive impact on the health of the global public, and my special interest in the area of cancer research, greatly contributed to choosing this topic.”
Beyond what is gained in the field of health, this type of work also strengthens what Negahbani brings to the classroom. He challenges himself, and then imparts to his students what he has learned. As he becomes a better instructor, they become better students.
“What I learn through research, helps me explain some of the most complicated chemistry concepts to students by bringing them to life and not only build a great foundation for the students, but also show them how what they learn in chemistry courses, helps to address certain real-life situations,” Negahbani said. “This approach will lead to student encouragement, excitation and engagement that will improve the quality of education.”
Negahbani said an additional benefit of being involved in research is the ability to stay current on subject matter and technology. Sharing that with students, along with appropriate training, increases their ability to find career success in the future because they will be more competitive in the job market.
While his participation in these projects is about his desire to learn, it’s bigger than that. It’s about overcoming barriers, and being bold in the quest to make advancements that will make a difference for others.
“What makes doing research exciting is having the courage to ask certain questions that no one knows the answers to, and then through the process, learning something for the first time to eventually share with others,” Negahbani said. “The positive impact the results of our research will have on people’s lives is the most rewarding outcome, and my major drive.”