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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. 


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