Introduction to the Trant Team

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Areas of Research Interest

Peptide and Amino Acid Chemistry

We are using the tools of synthetic and computational chemistry and molecular biology to make new “custom” amino acids for various challenges in immunology and medicine.

Carbohydrate Chemistry

We are very interested in making artificial carbohydrates, “acetal-free” carbohydrates that are far more stable in biological conditions than the natural sugars.

Materials Chemistry

We are interested in making new materials based on the biomolecules for a variety of environmental, medical and consumer applications.

Academic and Industrial Collaboration

Recent Projects

Click on the projects for details!

Batteries and Materials Modelling

We like modelling things. If we can understand the underlying physical forces between molecules, we can design next generation batteries, catalysts, and reactions! Plus, fundamental physical chemistry is fun. And we learn a lot about more complicated systems that we can apply to our other work by doing this!
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Triggerable, Targetable, Traceless Drug Delivery

We are working on making the “universal” drug delivery particle. Something that is stable until it is triggered, something that only goes to specific cell types, something that leaves no trace once it has delivered its cargo. This would lead to being able to delvier very small amounts of chemotherapeutics only to cancer cells, avoiding the side effects. Sounds like Sci-Fi? It’s just chemistry!
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Making Drugs!

Almost everything we do is organic synthesis! We make new molecules, and most of our focus is in “medicinal chemistry” the science of designing, preparing and testing drugs (we like doing all three). This involves computer design working with teams at the chemistry bench, and teams working in our bio lab. It’s really the core of what we are all about! Our first syntheses are still coming, but for some of John’s previous work:
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Designing Peptide Drugs to Treat Autoimmune Diseases

What if we could stop the underlying mechanism that causes autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Diabetes, or Celiac disease? That’d be cool. And useful. By designing artificial amino acids tailor made to fit pockets on specific proteins, we can move towards this goal. Combining peptide engineering, protein expression, and complex computational medicinal chemistry/structural biology, we are well on our way to testing our hypothesis!
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Ring Shaped Molecules Are Fun

We have fallen in love with cavitands, ring-shaped molecules with a hole in the middle. The things we can do with these toys is almost endless! This pic is from our study where we designed them to bind pyrophosphate in water with ridiculous affinity. We are now using them to treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria! And we are working on using them to make minimum enzymes…As I said. Rings ARE FUN!
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Meet The Team

Science is never done by one individual, you are only ever as good as your team. And this is a great team.

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