Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry (MNPC) is a discipline encompassing the discovery, design, synthesis and testing of new medicinal agents. The research emphasis in MNPC at Iowa includes a strong synthetic medicinal chemistry component, offered by Professors Kerns, Jin, and Olivo. Research in these labs involves development of new synthetic methodologies to construct anti-infective, anti-cancer and anti-viral agents. Faculty in the division are also focused on drug metabolism and carcinogenesis (Duffel and Roman), chemical toxicology (Doorn and Duffel), and neurochemistry (Doorn and Roman). The faculty are also engaged in research in the areas of gene delivery system development (Rice), and the identification of novel targets for anticancer agents and for the treatment of central nervous system disorders, as well as the discovery of novel pre-therapeutic lead molecules through the use of High Throughput Screening (Roman). Additionally, small molecule drug discovery is achieved through structure-based drug design (SBDD) and computer-aided drug discovery (CADD), with a particularly strong emphasis on enzyme drug targets (Spies).
The coursework in MNPC is a reflection of the breadth of scientific interest in the program. Students design a course of study which includes core courses in synthesis, spectroscopy, enzymology, pharmacology, analytical chemistry, toxicology and drug design as well as elective courses to maintain breadth and achieve depth in one of the research areas described above.