Synthesis of a small molecule used for selection of transfected Plasmodium falciparum.

Mentor: Derek Martyn

Plasmodium parasites, which cause malaria, display a remarkable ability to develop resistance to antimalarial drugs. The Broad Institute malaria program is collaborating with several research groups to discover small molecules that could serve as lead compounds in the development of novel antimalarials. These compounds can also serve as important tools for genetic research. One example of their use is to select for parasites that taken up plasmid DNA containing drug resistance genes.

The goal of Farah’s project was to synthesize the compound GW844520 to use for positive selection of parasites that have been transfected with a gene of interest. She was able to successfully complete the first six reactions in the seven-step synthesis of this compound. Through her experiments, Farah and her mentor were able to improve the synthesis protocol by optimizing the conditions for each reaction, thus enabling more efficient synthesis of this compound in the future.

Presentation >


Farah, a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, performed reactions to synthesize a compound exhibiting potent activity against the malaria parasite.


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