New Wertheim UF Scripps Scientist Expands Chemists’ Tools (UF Health)

New Wertheim UF Scripps Scientist Expands Chemists’ Tools

A new scientist joining The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology invents creative and efficient ways to build complex, potentially useful molecules, studying their activity so that compounds found in nature may eventually become useful products, such as medications.

Synthetic chemist and associate professor Masayuki Wasa, Ph.D., joins the institute from Boston College, where he was an assistant professor of chemistry. Synthetic chemists specialize in assembling larger molecules from smaller parts, like a child assembling a Lego spaceship from a basket of oddly shaped pieces.

But the work is far from child’s play, as some pieces cling tightly or resist moving together, requiring feats of physics, mathematics and chemistry to overcome.

Wasa not only invents new systems for assembling important molecules, he carries out in-depth studies that show how some medicinal molecules work, making him a valued colleague, said chemistry department chair and Institute Professor Matthew Disney, Ph.D.

Many potential medications fail during clinical trials, so having more complete data about how they would interact within the body is important, he said.

“We are thrilled to have Masa and his students come to our campus. I know that many of the researchers on campus have already initiated collaborative projects with them,” Disney said.

Learn more about New Wertheim Uf Scripps Scientist Expands Chemists’ Tools