Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Mark Trudell

Second Advisor

Branko Jursic

Third Advisor

Dhruva Chakravorty

Fourth Advisor

Zhengchang Liu


This work seeks to contribute to the discipline of neuropharmacology by way of structure activity relationship from the standpoint of an organic chemist. More specifically, we sought to develop robust synthetic methodology able to efficiently produce an array of compounds for the purpose of systematic evaluation of their interaction with specific sights within the central nervous system (CNS) in order to better understand the mind and to develop drugs that may have beneficial effects on neurological function.

The focus of these studies has been toward the development of novel molecules, using a structure-activity relationship approach, that exhibit binding affinity at specific targets within the CNS. The merit of such studies is twofold: primarily, new compounds are produced that provide valuable scientific insight about their physiological targets, and secondarily, new synthetic methodologies that may arise in order to produce these compounds, thereby contributing to the whole of organic chemistry.

As a result of the research described herein, the development of one high affinity and several moderate affinity compounds at the cannabinoid receptor subtype 1 (CB1) has been accomplished. The research demonstrates that a diaryl ether molecular scaffold represents a successful motif in the cannabinoid pharmacophore. The production of the compounds in the SAR studies also introduced a novel general synthetic methodology for the synthesis of diaryl ethers around a phloroglucinol core.

A second project was initiated in order to explore the synthetic methods required to develop a general process for the synthesis of rigid aminobenzocyclobutane analogs of known phenethylamines with activity at monoaminergic neurotransmitter sites. Using the synthetic approach devised here, four novel aminobenzocyclobutane isomeric analogs of a known pharmacologically active phenethylamine, (RS)-phenylpropan-amine were synthesized and are currently being evaluated for pharmacological potential.


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