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The Okoro’s research group focuses on the design, synthesis, and pharmacological evaluation of small organic molecules.  Our long-term goal is improvement of human health through research that lead to the discovery of novel agents for the treatment of diseases. Ongoing projects are directed towards the discovery of antibacterial, anticancer, and anticonvulsant agents. 

Modern synthetic approaches needed to assemble complex molecular systems include reactions that are both selective and economical with respect to atom count. To achieve high efficiency, the number of synthetic steps must be minimized.  This can be achieved by employing multi-component reactions (MCRs), where several bonds are made simultaneously via a one-pot synthesis strategy.  In addition to high yields and short reaction time, MCRs are eco-friendly, requiring little or no solvent.  Our reseach group is using the above reaction for the synthesis of fluorine-containing organic systems with drug-like properties. Our interest in fluorine compounds stem from the intrinsic properties of  fluorine atom.  We are motivated by the lipophilicity and metabolic stability brought about by the presence of fluorine in drug-like molecules.  We have developed cyclic fluorinated cyclohexanedione, vinylogous amide, and vinylogous acid chloride and we are using them as versatile trifluoromethyl building blocks for the synthesis of condensed fused heterocyclic systems.

Our drug discovery effort is aided by molecular modeling techniques that utilize rational drug design (RDD) to identify leads for optimization and structure activity relationship studies. The techniques available to us at the interim include docking and scoring, development of a pharmacophore hypothesis for use as search query to search compound database for hits, and molecular property calculations using pc based programs.

Our group is also engaged in natural product isolation.  Many tropical plants have medicinal properties that have not been validated.  We are therefore investigating the extraction, isolation, and characterization of active components of higher plants for cause and effect studies.

Research Interests: Organic Synthesis, Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Modeling


Office: 211 Boswell Science Complex
Phone: (615) 963-5332; Fax: (615) 963-5326
Email: cokoro@tnstate.edu