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Latorya Hicks's picture
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Visiting Assistant Professor
Hendrix College
Teaching Interests

Organic Chemistry
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Research Interests

My research interests are in synthesizing small organic compounds that ameliorate toxicity of current chemotherapy drugs for treatment of cancer. I have experience in the synthesis of novel organic compounds to modulate esterase-mediated drug catalysis, a pathway important in cancer therapies. My postdoctoral research studies involved the identification, synthesis, and molecular modeling of novel carboxylesterase inhibitors for the anticancer drug Irinotecan (CPT-11). CPT-11 is an antitumor prodrug that is hydrolyzed by carboxylesterases to yield SN-38, a potent topoisomerase I poison. Cancer patients treated with CPT-11 experience severe diarrhea. This drug toxicity is believed to arise from the activation of the prodrug by a human intestinal carboxylesterase. I synthesized novel small aromatic analogues that are specific for human carboxylesterase and can selectively modulate drug hydrolysis in vivo. These molecules have the potential to inhibit the diarrhea and allow cancer patients to receive higher doses of the CPT-11. Therefore, I propose to use molecular modeling as a predictive tool to synthesize small organic compounds that inhibit the toxicity of chemotherapy drugs.

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Member for
1 year 5 months