Faculty of Science, Mahidol University's Awards


Professor Dr. Vichai Reutrakul
TRF Senior Research Scholar (Organic Chemistry) Year 2000


Biography and Research Summary


Professor Vichai Reutrakul began his career as a lecturer in chemistry in the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, where he is now a full professor and serving as the departmental chairman. The research achievements are divided into two areas i.e. organic synthesis and bioactive natural products. Studies on the fundamental properties of alpha-halosulfonyl and sulfinyl carbanions, and alpha-sulfonyl radical have been the major focus of this part of research. The information generated results in the new and potentially useful synthetic methodologies for the constructions of useful organic intermediates and natural products, notably, the syntheses of aziridines, activated cyclopropanes, organofluorines. Syntheses of diarytheptanoids, oxoproto-berberine carbon skeleton and cytotoxic butenolides from Melodorum fruitcosum have been achieved. The future research in this area will be on the study on the fundamental properties of heteroatom substituted carbon centered carbanions and radicals, particulary with fluorine and sulfur as the heteroatoms. The chemistry of the newly discovered samarium dienolate will be persued.


The drug discovery program involves the search for bioactive natural products as drug prototypes and lead structures. The focused biological activities are anti-inflammatory (both oral and topical), cytotoxicity (the assay using a panel of human cancer cell lines. P-388, KB, COL-2, BCA-1 and LU-1), antimitotic (with rat glioma cell, ASK) and anti-HIV (employing constructed virus MC99 and HIV-1-RT enzyme as the assays). Extracts, fractions and pure compounds of carefully selected plants have been tested in these assays. Promising lead structures have been identified from Gardenia obtusifolia and Ventilago harmandiana for cytotoxic and anti-HIV activities, respectively. Future research will concentrate on the investigations of the structures and biological profiels of these compounds. Additionally, carefully selected plants, plants from the Gardenia, Garcinia and Ventilagogenera, Mallotus spodocarpus and Polyalthia suberosa will be studied. This drug discovery program is being carried out under a collaborative network involving researchers from Mahidol University, Chiang Mai University, Khon Kaen University, Prince of Songkla University and Rajabhat Institute, Surathani.