Welcome to the Meyers Lab at Saint Louis University! The research in our lab is focused on discovering novel drug candidates to improve and/or save the lives of people with rare and neglected diseases with a particular interest in infectious diseases. We use synthetic organic chemistry techniques to prepare new compounds, which are analyzed by our collaborators to assess their biological properties. Using medicinal chemistry, molecular modeling, and structure-based drug design principles, we optimize the potency, pharmacokinetics, and safety profiles of compounds with the ultimate goal of identification of candidate drugs for clinical trials. The discoveries we make can also teach us about the biology of disease, how things work at a biomolecular level in living systems. We can use small molecules as chemical probes to modulate biological systems, define molecular pathways, and identify new targets for drug discovery.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities: Undergraduate students get exposure to synthetic organic chemistry and medicinal chemistry as part of one of our ongoing drug discovery projects. Students working in our lab typically start working in the lab after they have completed Organic Chemistry 2. We identify a new target molecule, design the synthesis and then carry out the synthesis. Typically, a new target molecule requires several separate reactions and purifications to get to the final compound. It can take anywhere from a week to a couple of months to complete a synthesis. In this process, the student will gain valuable skills in organic synthesis, purification, NMR analysis, HPLC-MS analysis, and problem solving. The new compound is then then assayed by our collaborators (typically biologists with expertise in the disease). We then review the results and work with the students to analyze the structure-activity relationships (SAR) in order to design new compounds for synthesis. Students often work for 3-4 semesters in the lab in this manner and may be included as co-authors on scientific publications that result from their work. It is even possible that they could be inventors on a patent application.
Graduate Research Opportunities: Graduate students take on larger and more independent research projects in our group, focusing primarily on the application of synthetic organic and medicinal chemistry to our ongoing drug discovery projects, and interacting with our project collaborators here at SLU and at other universities. Grad students also get the opportunity to help mentor undergrads in the lab. The lab has ongoing needs for grad students.
Post-doctoral Research Opportunities: No current openings. At times, we are looking to hire a medicinal chemistry postdoc for our research group. We are a team-oriented drug discovery research group. This work involves the organic synthesis of new molecular compounds as potential drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases. Additional work duties include design of new molecules, data analysis, analytical characterization, purification, maintaining lab equipment, and working with graduate and undergraduate student researchers. You will gain experience working with heterocycles in a medicinal chemistry lab environment. Requires Ph.D. in organic chemistry or a Ph.D. with at least two years of experience in a synthetic organic chemistry laboratory setting. Experience with structure-based drug design is a plus but not required.