John Dixson, Ph.D.
- Associate Professor, Chemistry
- Black Hills State University
- Ph.D., University of Iowa
- M.S., University of Iowa
- B.A., University of Northern Iowa
The two areas of research that I am currently involved in are natural products chemistry and medicinal-organic chemistry. The natural products project that is currently underway in my lab involves evaluating plants that the American Indians of western South Dakota used for medicinal purposes as leads to investigate whether they have activity against diseases we face today. Often drugs will act at more than one receptor site or enzyme resulting in more than one biological effect. Consequently, we believe these plants have the potential to address other diseases besides the traditional diseases they were used for. Once a plant with activity has been identified, the second step is to isolate the molecule that is responsible for the biological activity and determine its structure.
My second area of research is in the area of medicinal-organic chemistry and particularly aimed at small molecules to treat malaria. This project is just getting underway and currently we are investigating in vitro methods to evaluate molecules against plasmodium, which is the organism responsible for malaria. Malaria is a devastating public health disease in many regions of the world, from the subtropical regions of Africa to Asia, with some 40% of the world's population living in areas where malaria is endemic. Infections in these areas of the world range from 300-500 million people/year with deaths estimated from 1-3 million per year. Currently, chloroquine is one of most economical drugs available to treat malaria, however, development of resistance by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite limits its efficacy and new molecules are sorely needed.
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