Research in the Wang group aims to answer fundamental questions that lie at the interface of organic chemistry and chemical biology. We will develop small-molecule based probes and methods to understand genes and pathways of importance to the treatment of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Towards this end, we will exploit an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the principles of synthetic chemistry, assay development, molecular and cell biology, genetics, and proteomics through our studies in the following areas.

(1) Bioactive molecules as probes in human biology and disease.

Our research incorporates synthetic chemistry and biological efforts to expedite discovery of novel bioactive molecules and to facilitate the study of their biological properties. Chemistry efforts will emphasize the development of modular approaches to target molecules and new methodologies to maximize synthetic efficiency. Biological studies will focus on profiling the activities of selected compounds and identifying their mode of action.

Recent publications:

Copper-Catalyzed Amino Lactonization and Amino Oxygenation of Alkenes Using O-Benzoylhydroxylamines. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 5813–5816.

Copper-Catalyzed Diamination of Unactivated Alkenes with Hydroxylamines. Chem. Sci., 2015, 6, 4279–4283.

Synthesis of ortho-Haloaminoarenes by Aryne Insertion of Nitrogen−Halide Bonds. J. Org. Chem. 2015, 80, 1059–1069.

Copper-Catalyzed Electrophilic Amination of Heteroarenes and Arenes via C–H Zincation. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 4667–4670.

(2) Epigenetic modifying enzymes as novel therapeutic targets.

We are interested in developing small-molecule regulators of epigenetics modifications, the new frontier in understanding and treatment of disease. For example, research will be directed towards identifying small-molecule modulators of arginine methylation and uncovering their regulatory pathways. Discovery of such molecules will provide powerful tools to interrogate the physiological roles of arginine methylation and offer potential lead molecules for novel therapies to contribute to a new era of epigenetic-based drugs.

Selected publications:

Microtubule Acetylation Amplifies p38 KinaseSignalling and Anti-inflammatory IL-10 Production. Nat. Commun. 2014, 5, 3479.

(3) New chemical tools for biomolecule labeling and target identification.

Our research also involves the development of new chemical tools to enable selective detection of the temporal and spatial small-molecule ligand-biomolecule interactions in vitro and in vivo. Towards this end, we will design and synthesize photoaffinity cross-linking tools to label methyltransferases, their substrates, and their binding partners.

Recent publications:

Diazirines as Potential Molecular Imaging Tags: Probing the Requirements for Efficient and Long-Lived SABRE-Induced Hyperpolarization. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Accepted.

"Direct Hyperpolarization of Nitrogen-15 in Aqueous Media with Parahydrogen in Reversible Exchange" J. Am. Chem. Soc.  2017, 139, 7761–7767. 

Direct and Cost-efficient Hyperpolarization of Long-lived Nuclear Spin States on Universal 15N Molecular Tag. Science Advances, 2016, 2, E1501438.

An Efficient Synthesis of Fluorinated Azaheterocycles by Aminocyclization of Alkenes. Org. Lett. 2013, 15, 1818–1821.


We thank the following agencies for financial support to our research!






Qiu Wang
Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Duke University
124 Science Drive, 2102 French Family Science Center
Durham, NC 27708-0347
Phone: 919-660-1648 Email: at
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