George A. Kraus

Organic Synthesis, Bioagricultural Chemistry, Toxicology

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Research Interests

  1. George Kraus is part of the catalysis group in the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), an Engineering Research Center funded by the NSF. One of his discoveries is a rapid construction of terephthalic acid, an important monomer for the production of plastics and household products.
    Hydrogen Abstraction Reactions, picture 1
  2. George Kraus has been collaborating with Professor Marit Nilsen-Hamilton (ISU BBMB department) on aptamers (single-stranded RNA segments that have been combinatorially modified to exhibit high affinity for molecular targets). We have four active grants on aptamers - one from the DOE OBER to study imaging of messenger RNA, one through NIH to construct aptamer probes, one NIH SBIR to test drug targeting with aptamers, and one through the National Institute of Justice to use aptamers to identify drugs of abuse.
  3. The collaboration with Professor Anumantha Kanthasamy (ISU Vet Med) has led to a successful NIH SBIR and to novel neuroprotective agents for which we have a provisional patent. A number of grant proposals are in preparation to further develop this research.
  4. The collaboration with Professor Gregory Phillips (ISU Vet Med microbiology) has led to the discovery of a number of compounds that inhibit Gram-negative bacteria including E. coli and Salmonella. This discovery led to a disclosure to ISURF. The new compounds are part of a general class of molecules known as the salicylic acids.
  5. The collaboration with Professor Wendy Maury (University of Iowa microbiology department) has led to the discovery of a new class of small molecule inhibitors of HIV. A provisional patent is underway.
  6. Development of new synthetic methods. The Kraus group has developed synthetic pathways to biologically significant heterocycles such as indoles, flavones and benzopyrans. The Kraus approach to indoles via aldehydes and aminobenzyl phosphonium salts is illustrated below. This strategy has been applied to the total synthesis of four biologically active natural products.
    Hydrogen Abstraction Reactions, picture 1