lock and key cover angew Chemie dna molecules Some of nature's most fascinating phenomena are due to a very simple fact: you cannot superimpose the mirror image of a nonsymmetrical object onto the object itself. This property is called chirality. Nearly all important biological molecules are chiral. In fact, the chemistry of life is built almost exclusively on left-handed amino acids and right-handed sugars, a pattern known as the 'homochirality of life'.

Pharmaceuticals are often chiral since in many cases only drugs with the correct handedness are capable of executing a proper 'hand shake' at the receptor site. Today, about 50 of the top 100 drugs are marketed as single enantiomers, and 80 percent of drugs now entering the drug development process are single enantiomers.

The research in my group focuses on using mid infrared laser spectroscopy, Fourier transform vibrational circular dichroism spectroscopy, and ab initio computational methods to study the phenomena of chirality and chiral discrimination on the molecular level.

hands1 hands2

Copyright © 2003 Dr. Xu's lab