Molinski, Tadeusz
Organic chemistry of marine natural products, synthesis, NMR, and biomedical applications

Contact Information
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, SIO

Office: Pacific Hall 5100E
Phone: 858-534-7115
Group: View group members
1984 Ph.D., Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
1979 B.S., Monash University, Melbourne
Awards and Academic Honors
President, American Society of Pharmacognosy
Albert Hofmann Centennial Prize, University of Zürich
Chair, Gordon Conference, Marine Natural Products
Research Interests
Marine natural products (MNP's) are chemically-diverse compounds found in marine organisms, such as marine sponges, ascidians, algae and molluscs. Many MNP's have complex molecular structures with multiple elements stereocenters, the presence of halogen (Cl, Br, I) and exotic functional groups. Our group investigates the structure, synthesis and biological properties of novel MNP's. Recent results include discovery of compounds that inhibit cancer cell growth or survival pathways that render cancer cells prone to programmed cell death (apoptosis) and may be useful as drug leads for treatment of human disease.

Fungal infections in individuals with with weakened immune systems such as AIDS patients or those undergoing chemotherapy including are caused by Candida and Cryptococcus and other species. We have discovered compounds that may prove useful in understanding the progression of fungal disease and its treatment.

An outstanding challenge in modern natural products is development of spectroscopic tools that push the limits of detection with vanishingly small quantities of organic compounds. In our nanomole-scale natural products program, we are developing tools which integrate analysis using micro-NMR (e.g. 1.7 mm cryoprobe), chiroptical spectroscopy, particularly circular dichroism (CD), and mass spectrometry for determining absolute configuration of natural products available in amounts <10 nanomole. Funded for our research is from the National Institutes of Health.
Primary Research Area
Organic Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests

Outreach Activities
Delivered a public lecture on ("Medicines from Nature; Drugs that Changed the World") at the outdoor Science Café a quarterly outreach program at UC Davis in collaboration with the

UC Davis, Arboretum, and the National Science Foundation.

Mentoring three female undergraduate students.

Active in hosting and coordinating projects and training international visiting graduate researchers.
Image Gallery

Hemiphorboxazole from Phorbas sp. (Indian ocean)

Muironolide A from Phorbas sp. (Indian ocean)

Phorbas amaranthus
Selected Publications