Research Interests


Betacyanins, the compounds that give beets their red color are plentiful in the beet and are a potential red food dye for other foods. In additions to being safe for human consumption, successful food dyes must also be stable in the presence of foods and during food processing. Others (e.g. von Elbe et. al, (1974) J. Food Science,39,334) have tested the stability of betacyanins with respect to changes in pH, heat and oxygen. We are interested in the stability of this electrophilic chromophore in the presence of nucleophiles, like thiols, a functional group found in proteins.

Since betacyanins are difficult to isolate pure from beets, we are synthesizing a simpler model compound that still retains the electrophilic chromophore. Once synthesized, we will explore its reactivity with thiols, such as the amino acid, cysteine.

Sarcosine Oxidase Inhibitors

In collaboration with Marilyn Jorns from Allegheny University of the Health Sciences (formerly Hahnemann University) we are synthesizing inhibitors for sarcosine oxidase, an enzyme which converts sarcosine (N-methyl glycine) to lysine and formaldehyde. Following the route of Jean Francois Biellmann (J. Org. Chem. (1992) 57, 2060), we are synthesizing E and Z-4-fluoromethyleneproline, (FMP), and establishing the correct configurational assignment for each using 2-D NOESY NMR.