Saturday, June 1, 2019

URSP Student Hufsa Khan Researches Medicine Creation

I had always envisioned myself going to medical school, becoming a physician, and prescribing various medications for my patients to feel better. Little did I anticipate how interesting it would be to make medications. From working in a drug discovery lab for almost a year now with my organic chemistry professor, I’ve become heavily interested in the science of drug discovery. There are so many illnesses that are lacking medicines, and the need for ongoing drug discovery research is very urgent. As someone dedicated to treating patients one day, this experience allows me to contribute to that cause. Working on this project has allows me to develop my skill in research, enhance my knowledge in organic chemistry, and establish a strong relationship with my mentor, which will prepare me as a medical school candidate.
My project’s goal is to produce novel drugs containing the triazoloquinoline chemical group that have stronger therapeutic potential when applied to the diseases. It is intended that our new drugs will make drugs more selective and potent than current triazoloquinoline drugs on the market.  On a weekly basis, I visit the lab and work on either cooking up a chemical reaction, extracting water and impurities from the crude mixture, purifying the chemicals on a gel column, or using spectroscopy such as nuclear-magnetic resonance (NMR) to characterize the final product.
I’ve discovered that medicine-making is quite difficult and chemicals in reality react very differently than what is theoretically assumed to happen based on current organic chemistry knowledge. We’ve only scratched the surface of reactions in organic chemistry and hopefully my project contributes to our overall medicinal chemistry understanding in addition to triazoloquinoline chemistry.