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CHEM 4315/6315

This guide provides an overview of helpful resources for CHEM 4315/6215 at the University of Memphis.

Final Project

Project Overview

Medicinal chemists are often engaged in selecting a disease to target for drug development, a biological target at which drug action can produce a positive therapeutic outcome in individuals with the disease, identify and prioritize candidate compounds to be tested against the biological target, and synthesize the most promising candidates for those experimental assays. Throughout the course, you will engage in these activities, and present your work in the form of a research proposal (to be developed in stages through the semester, with feedback after each stage).  The research proposal should illustrate the importance of finding new therapeutic leads for your chosen disease.  It should provide background information on the disease that demonstrates your biological target is a reasonable direction for drug discovery and development.  It should include your modeling data to convince readers that your proposed structure has a reasonable chance of acting at the intended biomolecular target.  It should outline a synthetic plan to prepare the proposed new drug candidate, and discuss problems that might occur during execution of the project.  A good proposal is likely to require around 8-10 pages to ensure all the required elements are done well.  The process of developing this research proposal has been divided into parts 1-3, with both peer-review and instructor feedback on each major new component prior to completion of the final project (called Part 4).

Project Part 1 (topic selection, 9/6/2020 for peer review, 9/13/2020 for grading)

Project part 1 should look like the introduction to a manuscript or grant proposal, and should include the following elements:

  • Project title
  • Brief description of a disease with possible biomolecular targets for disease treatment - for each biomolecular target, information about whether experimentally-solved structural data on the target should be provided
  • Currently known lead compounds or clinical agents used in treating the disease, and any available information about their biomolecular target(s)
    • It may be best to show these in a figure or table.  Figures and tables should be numbered sequentially in the order cited from the text.  Figures should have descriptive captions below the figure that start with "Figure #.".  Tables should have descriptive headings above the table that start with "Table #.".
  • Reference list - should include both primary (original research) and secondary (review) papers.  I recommend using RefWorks or Mendeley to organize references and prepare the bibliography.  Refer to the lib guide if you have not used Reworks previously ( ).  Note that it is unlikely you will receive high marks on Part I if you have fewer than 10 references.  
    • A reference format should be selected that includes the full author list, article title, journal, year, volume and issue, and page.  
    • References should be formatted consistently and be cited from the text by number (either superscripted or in parentheses).
    • References in the reference list should be in numerical order as cited from the text.

Project Part 2 (new therapeutic lead, 10/4/2020 for peer review, 10/11/2020 for grading)

Project part 2 should include the following elements:

  • Revised Part 1 with segue/transition into the added items
  • Description of computational methods you used to help design and justify a chemical structure that might be of use as a therapeutic lead (or modification of an existing lead) for your chosen disease.
  • Description of the results of your computational work, providing a clear rationale for how the computational work supports your proposed investigational compound
    • Results description will most likely require inclusion of figures for clarity.  Ensure that you choose a view and hide/show aspects of your computational model(s) so that readers can understand the message you want the figure to convey.
  • Additional references relevant to the computational methods you used and any precedents for how you analyzed your computational results.

Project Part 3 (synthetic plan, 11/1/2020 for peer review, 11/8/2020 for grading)

Project part 3 should include the following elements:

  • Revised parts 1 and 2 addressing any feedback with a segue/transition into new items.
  • A planned synthetic sequence to make your compound from available starting materials.  If the compound you proposed is a modification of an existing lead, you should point out how your planned synthetic sequence can be used to obtain multiple modified leads for an SAR-type investigation.
    • This will likely require a figure for clarity.
  • Additional references for precedents relevant to your synthetic plan.

Project Part 4 (complete new therapeutic candidate proposal, 11/15/2020 for peer review, 11/30/2020 for grading)

Your final project should include all three of the previously reviewed parts, with appropriate revisions to address additional feedback.