Rich Gandour

Professor - Chemistry

Department Website

Center for Drug Discovery

 

Synopsis:

Dr. Gandour's research focuses on designing deliverable drugs and drug vehicles.

Description:

Dr. Gandour divides his time amont two separate projects: (1) repurposing natural products and (2) creating a nanoscale gel-capsule.

(1) Soap, the most commonly used disinfectant on the planet and the first discovered among ancient cultures, is still used today to kill microbials. Dr. Gandour's research seeks to make the individual molecules in soap more effective and safe. Soap is comprised of fatty acids and when it comes into contact with water, it turns cloudy.  When this occurs soap becomes less effective because molecules have bundled together.  This bundling limits the soap's ability to kill microbials, therefore making the soap less effective. In order to make soap more effective, Dr. Gandour's team has created more water soluble soap molecules. Dr. Gandour's 'super soap' does not cloud like normal soaps.

The process by which Dr. Gandour's team produces this soap is called derivitization. This chemical reaction transforms soap molecules into molecules with a different head group. The head-group of the molecule increases the water solubility. This repurposed soap is now less harmful to people and more effective in killing microbes.

(2) Gel capsules are used to deliver many over the counter drugs and vitamins. Dr. Gandour's team is workingo n creating a nanoscale capsule, one that encapsulates two or more drugs. With computer technology, his team has designed a blueprint for what this capsule will look like on the nano-scale. In the lab, his team is working on recreating this blueprint. The hope is that once this capsule is created it can be used to deliver multiple drugs in one pill. This could be useful to individuals who take cocktails of drugs for treatment, such as HIV and AIDS patients.