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Floyd A Beckford

Professor of Chemistry at Duke Kunshan University
DKU Faculty

Research Interests

Metal compounds play a very real and important role in modern medicine. These compounds serve as active drugs (such as cisplatin for cancer treatments) and as diagnostic agents for diseases (contrast agents for MRI). Despite their successes, metal compounds are being continually developed as a way of improving on the current drugs or acting as novel treatments for diseases. The research in my laboratory is focused on the chemistry and biology of metal-containing compounds.

1.Organometallic/inorganic ruthenium chemistry

1A. Biological activity of ruthenium coordination compounds. (Synthesis, characterization, and biological activity [anticancer and antimicrobial] of varied ruthenium-centered compounds.)

1B. Catalytic activity of organometallic ruthenium complexes. (Catalytic transfer hydrogenation is the reduction of organic multiple bonds using “hydrogen: and a metal catalyst.)

2. Zinc antidiabetic complexes. (Investigating zinc coordination complexes for their insulin-mimetic potential or to act as anti-diabetic agents.)

3. Carbon-monoxide releasing molecules (CORMs). (CO release from compounds has been shown to be useful as an anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and cytoprotective agent. Metal carbonyls have great potential to be CO-releasing molecules. Ruthenium and manganese are among the metals that have the ability to serve multiple biological functions.)

4. Incorporation of sugar moieties into the metal complexes. (Glyco-conjugation of sugar units to metal complexes could increase the selectivity of cellular uptake of these complexes leading to potentially enhanced activity)

There are other medicinally important metals that could act as scaffolds for building biologically active inorganic compounds. I have also studied copper and gallium complexes.

This is a new area that I am planning to develop into active projects possibly through collaborations.

  1. Microplastics in soil and environmental waters. (Investigating the isolation and identification of microplastics in various environmental spheres).