Arthur L. Chilton and the A. L. Chilton Foundation have been instrumental to the success of the Department of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Mr. Chilton was the founder of Sky Broadcasting System, with radio stations broadcasting from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Mr. Chilton was also an active and very generous philanthropist, creating the Chilton Foundation in 1945 to support medical research, youth organizations, and other charities.
He began supporting UT Southwestern students in Biochemistry in the 1950s because of an interest in lipid metabolism and research related to obesity. That grew into a sustained and long-term commitment to support the Department of Biochemistry.
Mr. Chilton died in 1973, but through his close friend, the late T. Andrew Bell, and subsequently his widow, Mar Nell, and daughters, Bonnie Harding and Pattie Brown, his legacy as a forward-thinking benefactor continues at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Andrew G. Myers, Ph.D.
"Bringing the Full Power of Chemical Synthesis to Bear on the Discovery of New Antibiotics"
April 24, 2013
About Dr. Myers
Andrew G. Myers graduated from MIT in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He was introduced to chemical research as an undergraduate in the laboratory of Professor William R. Roush, and went on to study with Professor E.J. Corey from 1981-1986 at Harvard University, both as a graduate student and then briefly as a postdoctoral researcher.
Myers began his independent academic career at Caltech (1986), where he was Assistant, Associate, and then Full Professor (1994). In 1998, he moved to the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University, served as Chair of the Department from 2007-2010, and is currently Amory Houghton Professor of Chemistry.
Professor Myers' research program involves the synthesis and study of complex molecules of importance in biology and human medicine. His group has developed laboratory synthetic routes to a broad array of complex natural products, including the ene-diyne antibiotics neocarzinostatin chromophore, dynemicin A, N1999A2, and kedarcidin chromophore, undertakings greatly complicated by the chemical instability of all members of the class.
His laboratory developed the first practical synthetic route to the tetracycline antibiotics, allowing for the synthesis of more than 3,000 fully synthetic analogs (compounds inaccessible by semi-synthesis: chemical modification of natural products) by a scalable process.
A portfolio of clinical candidates for the treatment of infectious diseases, all fully synthetic tetracycline analogs, are currently in development at Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals, a company Myers founded. In addition, the Myers laboratory has developed short, practical, and scalable synthetic routes to the saframycin, cytochalasin, stephacidin B-avrainvillamide, and trioxacarin classes of natural antiproliferative agents, in each case by the modular assembly of simple components of similar synthetic complexity.
His group has reported synthetic routes to the natural products epoxybasmenone, cyanocycline, terpestacin, salinosporamides, and cortistatins A, J, K, and L.
Increasingly, the Myers laboratory is dedicated to the development of highly convergent synthetic pathways that (1) provide practical, scalable solutions for the construction of molecular classes multiplicatively expanded by (2) incorporation of modular variations.
Assisting the Construction of Complex Molecules
Myers and his students have also developed numerous reagents and procedures of general utility in the construction of complex molecules. These include:
- The development of methodology for the preparation of highly enantiomerically enriched ketones, aldehydes, alcohols, carboxylic acids, organofluorine compounds, a-amino acids, and molecules containing quaternary carbon centers using pseudoephenamine and pseudoephedrine as chiral auxiliaries
- A method for the reductive deoxygenation of alcohols that does not involve metal hydride reagents
- Methods for the stereoselective synthesis of alkenes from sulfonyl hydrazones
- A stereospecific synthesis of allenes from propargylic alcohols
- 1,3-reductive transposition of allylic alcohols, a silicon-directed aldol addition reaction
- A method for the reductive coupling of aldehydes and allylic alcohols
- The discovery of the powerful reductant lithium amidotrihydroborate
- The use of a-amino aldehydes in synthesis
- Methods for the synthesis and transformation of diazo compounds, a highly diversifiable method for the synthesis of isoquinolines, as well as others.
In addition they have identified and studied transformations of fundamental importance in chemistry such as the allene-ene-yne®a,3-dehydrotoluene, 1,6-didehydrotolu-ene-annulene®1,5-naphthalenediyl, and neocarzinostatin biradical-forming cycloaromatization reactions, as well as the decarboxylative palladiation reaction.