Prof. Katsuyoshi Matsunami

【Research Keyword】
Natural products chemistry, Pharmacognosy, Medicinal herb, Model organism

【Recent highlights】
 Recently, a new anti-Leishmania compound has been isolated from one of Okinawan subtropical plants. The chemical structure was elucidated by spectroscopic analysis and chemical synthesis. Series of analogous compounds were also synthesized for an analysis of structure and activity relationship. As a result, we successfully identified the most active compound that may be a new promising candidate for Leishmania treatment.

Profiles of Faculty and Research Scholars

 Pharmacognosy is one of the bases of pharmaceutical sciences. Our aim is to isolate and elucidate new potentially useful compounds from natural resources, such as tropical and sub-tropical plants, marine invertebrates and bacterial and fungal metabolites.
 Crude extracts possessing medicinal usefulness are subjected to bioactivity-guided fractionation by variety of chromatographic techniques. The structures of the isolated compounds are then elucidated by spectroscopic analyses, such as 1D and 2D NMR, MS, IR, UV and CD spectra, together with chemical derivatization. Our members are required to obtain deep knowledge and sophisticated techniques through the above research.

 More than half of the current drugs come from natural resources. We are interested in medicinal herbs, tropical and sub-tropical plants and microbial metabolites as important resources for drug discovery. Our research includes two major research steps. First is isolation and structural elucidation of purified compounds from crude extracts. And the next step is evaluation of biological activities of the isolated compounds, such as inhibitors against pathogenic virus, bacteria, yeast, fungi, protozoa and human cancer cells.

【Figure caption】 (left)Molecular modeling(right)NMR spectrum

【Figure caption】 Cell culture and discovery of lead compounds