Rebecca Roesner:  Harnessing the Properties of Polyoxometalates [Publications]  [E-mail]

Polyoxometalates are inorganic compounds that form between oxygen and certain transition metals, most notably vanadium, molybdenum, and tungsten. Polyoxometalates have large, highly symmetric structures (Figure 1) and undergo a wide variety of chemical reactions. In addition to having industrial uses as catalysts, corrosion retardants, and indicators, polyoxometalates are known to exhibit potent antiviral, antitumoral, and, in combination with b-lactam antibiotics, antibacterial behavior.  Despite their impressive anti-viral activities in cell cultures (and in studies on mice) only one polyoxometalate drug, (NH4)17Na[NaSb9W21O86] (HPA-23), has been used in clinical trials on HIV infected humans (France and US).  These trials were abandoned because of the drugâs unacceptable kidney, liver, and bone marrow toxicity.

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My current research projects involve modifying polyoxometalates, and improving their utility, through the attachment of specific organic/ bioorganic pendant arms to the inorganic cage (Figure 2). I plan to demonstrate that chain-like organic molecules and small protein fragments can be attached to three important classes of polyoxometalates: hexametalates, Keggin anions, and Dawson anions.  If successful, these synthetic methodologies may lead to the development of new anti-HIV and anti-cancer pharmaceuticals, selective stains for electron microscopy, covalent attachment of polyoxometalates to solid supports (for catalysis), and novel, supramolecular materials.  I am especially interested in using difunctional organic reagents to link two or more polyoxometalates together.

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