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Previous research in our laboratory has focused on developing chemotherapeutic interventions for viral infection and cancer metastasis. While these two diseases are fundamentally distinct, both have been addressed using three chemical strategies: 1) the development of small molecule inhibitors of critical pathogenic pathways, 2) synthesis of chemically defined macromolecules as vaccine candidates and, 3) the synthesis of immunogenic glycolipids to enhance the effects of chemotherapeutics. Our studies with immune stimulating molecules have revealed a modular exchange of carbohydrates and lipids occurring between humans and associated microbes such as Helicobacter pylori.  Chemical measurements and analyses have led to the new understanding that microbes acquire sugars, phospholipids and cholesterol from the host, and then assemble these chemical building blocks into various forms of glycolipids that are transferred back to the host to allow symbiotic relationships to form. More recently, we have extended these studies to the plant kingdom and in particular Camellia sinensis, the plant from which tea beverages are extracted.   In studying plant-biotic interactions, we seek to discover the underlying chemistry of symbiotic relationships that promote sustainable growth and production of tea. 


Group News

  • We welcome Jonathan Hsu to the Pharmaceutical Chemistry MS Program!
  • Graduate Student Ami Rose passed her Qualifying Examination, officially passing into candidacy. Congratulations!
  • Dr. Gervay-Hague’s research was recently highlighted in a Nature featured article. The article can be found on the Tea News page of this website.
  • Graduate student Crystal Ye was one of the four student speakers selected to present at the 2018 Global Tea Initiative Symposium. Her talk focused on how natural products chemistry can shed light on the study of tea in the 21st century.
  • A pact for tea research between UC Davis and the Tea Research Association in Tocklai has been signed to promote research on agronomy including mechanization and biochemistry.
  • Dr. Gervay-Hague goes to discuss the “The Science of Tea” on Capital Public Radio, Insight with Beth Ruyak.
  • ABC7 News features a news story on tea at KARE: “50-Year-Old Research Project May Spark Tea Growing Industry in Central Valley
  • Dr. Gervay-Hague is featured in a blog post titled: “New Life for Tea in San Joaquin Valley” from UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

See how our alumni are doing at our Group Alumni News page.



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