Ragains Receives NSF Grant to Study Novel Glycosylation Reactions

LSU Chemistry | June 7, 2021

Dr. Justin Ragains

BATON ROUGE, LA- Justin Ragains, associate professor at the LSU Department of Chemistry, recently received a three-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for his project titled, “Leveraging Protecting Groups, Lewis Bases, and Backside Attack for 1,2-cis-Selective Glycosylation.” 

The $459,999 grant will allow the Ragains research team to investigate novel approaches to the 1,2-cis-selective formation of glycosidic linkages (1,2-cis-selective glycosylation).  

“While 1,2-trans glycosidic linkages are a rather easy synthetic problem, 1,2-cis selectivity has served as a driving force for discovery in carbohydrate chemistry for at least 5 decades,” Ragains said. 

1,2-cis glycosidic linkages have proven challenging for chemists to synthesize but are highly important due to their abundance, their roles in biology, and their medicinal potential. The Ragains group will exploit the synergy of electron-withdrawing protecting groups and Lewis bases in the mechanistically driven development of new 1,2-cis-selective glycosylation reactions.  

“We hope to develop reactions that will be broadly applicable to the synthesis of carbohydrates,” Ragains said. “These reactions could have profound implications for the automated synthesis of carbohydrates as well as vaccine development and medical diagnostics.”

The Ragains group will also continue its longstanding collaboration with LSU’s Upward Bound program. Planned activities include summer laboratory experiences for high school students from the Baton Rouge area.

The funding was awarded through the Division of Chemistry: Disciplinary Research Programs (CHE-DRP), which supports projects that “explore the frontiers of chemical science, develop the foundations for future technologies and industries that meet changing societal needs, and prepare the next generation of chemical researchers.” 

 

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Media Contact:
Gretchen Schneider 
LSU Department of Chemistry
gschne2@lsu.edu