Innovative Biochemistry

The department’s biochemical goals are to make new drugs and new drug-delivery agents to aid in the treatment of human diseases. We are currently developing new therapies for cancer, iron poisoning, tuberculosis and malaria.

Biochemistry Early Experience Program

Biochemistry Early Experience Program (BEEP) is designed for minority groups at the undergraduate and high school levels in the Orlando area. These includes African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, and Native Pacific Islanders. Students who are interested in biochemistry are encouraged to come to my lab for a month and engage in all aspects of research activities, including literature search, group meetings, lab reagent preparation, basic DNA cloning, as well as other well-designed biochemical experiments. Students who perform well and show continued interest and great potential will be admitted to the lab to work on more independent projects. Summer sessions will be two to three months and target minority high school and community college teachers with compensations contingent upon NSF funding availability.

General Research

Binary probes for nucleic acids analysis

Binary probes use two synthetic oligonucleotide strands that form a detectable signal after hybridization to the adjacent positions of specific RNA or DNA analytes. Main advantages of binary probes over conventional hybridization-based approaches are high selectivity toward analyte sequences and possibility to generate signal immediately after hybridization, thus avoiding the need to separate probe-analyte complex from excess amount of unbound probe. We have recently developed four variations of binary probes. The probes use dye-free DNA or RNA strands for recognition of specific analytes, but can generate fluorescent or visible signal in the presence of complementary nucleic acids. All probes demonstrate excellent discrimination against nucleic acids containing single base substitutions. The developed approach can be applied for genotyping of single nucleotide polymorphism is such formats as real-time PCR and DNA microarrays.