GlassLab Research

Welcome to the GlassLab Information Page at PLU!



The GlassLab is a synthetic chemistry group that is focused on the synthesis and use of functionalized benzofulvenes and indenes in pharmaceutical and materials applications.  We have expertise in air-free synthesis, computational chemistry (i.e., ligand/enzyme docking) and compound characterization.  The group's work is focused in three main areas.


Project I: The Synthesis of Benzofulvene Derivatives


                We are currently interested in the synthetic pursuit of functionalized benzofulvene derivatives.  Benzofulvenes are useful molecules, with wide ranging applications (e.g., materials, biologically active compounds, and optics).  They are also interesting from a physical perspective displaying what is called pseudo-aromaticity.  Our synthetic approaches focus on relatively simple and inexpensive chemical transformations.  We also make it a priority to use more environmentally benign reagents whenever possible (Cu vs. Pd, 2-MeTHF vs. THF, heptanes vs. hexanes).  While progress continues, this project is winding down in order to focus on applying our library of benzofulvenes towards Projects II and III.



Project II: Benzofulvenes as Possible Redox Shuttles


                Our second project involves the reversible redox activity of the fulvene moiety.  Preliminary CV has demonstrated that the exocyclic alkene in certain benzofulvenes is redox active and reversible.  This has led us to consider benzofulvenes for a role as redox shuttles in other electrochemical reactions.  We are currently investigating the redox potential for various functionalized benzofulvenes.



Project III:  Development of Thiroredoxin Reductase I Inhibitors


                A major impetus for the synthetic development of the previously discussed molecular families is for the possible incorporation of these derivatives into a successful Thioredoxin Reductase I (TrxR1) inhibitor.  TrxR1 has demonstrated cancer relevance and may be a useful therapeutic target.  We have successfully identified a number of computationally relevant lead candidates - with certain benzofulvene derivatives displaying in-silico nanomolar binding affinity to TrxR1.  Current work is geared towards in-vitro testing of our benzofulvene library.


                                               ACG111 TrxR Binding.png


                                                          Current Group Members


                                                        Connor Whyte and Cole Fisher

                                                               Capstone Alumni:

                                                             Jacob Huntington (2012)

                                        Jack Rubenkonig (2013) - Staff Scientist at IDRI

                                  Austin Erler (2014) - Staff Scientist at Bend Research 

                           Valerie Lesniak (2014) - Grad Student at University of Washington

                                     Drew Huff (2015) - Grad Student at UBC

                                           Kalie Saathoff (2016)

                               Katherine Caspary (2017) - Grad Student Oregon State 

                                    James Okubo (2017) - Gap Year (Medical Scribe)

                                        Quoc Bao Huynh (2017) 

                                          Tristan Underwood (2017)

                                                             Principal Investigator:

                                                               Adam C. Glass, Ph.D.