200 million people worldwide are living with a thyroid disorder related to a hormonal imbalance. Symptoms of this imbalance include deviations from normal heart rates and metabolic rates. Recent discoveries have shown that a compound known as T1AM is capable of affecting some of these same physiological conditions. The receptor that T1AM activates, TAAR, has been the subject of much current research. Our approach to learn more about TAAR involves the synthesis of compounds that regulate its activity. These molecular targets resemble T1AM, but include some key structural differences. For example, the molecular scaffold that is the basis of our target compounds (known as chromenes) is more rigid than T1AM due to the incorporation of a six carbon ring. To date, our research has focused on optimizing the reactions that produce this scaffold. The successful production of a panel of these chromenes has set the stage for subsequent reactions that will allow us to generate many T1AM analogues. By understanding the regulation of TAAR we may gain a greater understanding of its role in biology and human physiology.
Faculty Mentor: Matthew Hart, Chemistry