|Back to Contents|
Lakshmi Santhanam is searching for molecules with properties that may someday be used as medicines able to pre-empt the damaging inflammatory response involved in atherosclerosis. Santhanam, a chemical engineering student working with professor Jonathan Dordick, is helping to develop a novel technique that cuts costs and could aid in the speedy discovery of additional drugs to address other chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.
Santhanam and Dordick, the Howard P. Isermann 42 Professor of Chemical Engineering, presented their research at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
An enzyme called NADPH oxidase has been implicated in causing heart disease by generating free radicals that cause arteries to thicken, eventually leading to blockage. The known heart-healthy benefits of certain phytochemicals (such as those found in red wine and green tea) are thought to stem from their natural ability to scavenge free radicals.
Recent work by the Rensselaer team and other researchers, however, indicates that these chemicals may possess an even more important activity, which involves inhibiting the assembly of the active enzyme. This research aims to discover new drugs that may selectively block the action of NADPH oxidase and lead to effective therapies to prevent cardiovascular disease.
They select potentially effective molecules and use a modern microarray technique to attach minute amounts of precursors of potential NADPH oxidase inhibitors to glass slides. Molecules chosen for further screening are examined for biological activity against the damaging enzyme.
The biocatalysis lab-on-a-slide technique was originally developed by Dordick, Santhanam, and Michael Hogg, a biologist at the Veterans Administration in Albany, N.Y. The tiny samples allow the researchers to look at hundreds of different molecules at once, speeding research and conserving costly lab resources.
|Rensselaer Magazine: June 2003|
|President's View||Your Mail||From the Archives||Hawk Talk||Class Notes Features|
|Front Page||At Rensselaer||Milestones|
|In Memoriam||Making a Difference||Staying Connected|
|Rensselaer Home Page | RPInfo | AlumServ Home Page|
Opinions expressed in these pages do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or the policies of the Institute.
|© 2003 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. All rights reserved worldwide.|
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), 110 8th St., Troy, NY 12180. (518) 276-6000
Web site design by the Rensselaer Office of Communications.
Contact Jane Van Ryan, Assistant Vice President, Office of Communications.
Questions? Comments? Please contact us.