Professor Brimble’s research involves the chemical synthesis of complex natural products that have important biological activity. Natural products are “nature’s medicine chest” and provide a rich source of lead compounds with complex and novel structures for the development of new pharmaceuticals. The synthesis of these complex molecules tests the existing boundaries of the science of organic synthesis and requires academic and manipulative rigour, creativity, dedication, persistence and hard work. The tactics and synthetic manoeuvring involved in executing a given synthesis can be compared with the logic and rationale behind a game of chess.
The target molecules successfully synthesized by her research group include the antibiotics arizonin, griseusin, medermycin and salinomycin. She also has a research programme directed towards the synthesis of novel nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists and agents that exhibit selective and potent activity against the peptic ulcer-producing micro organism, Helicobacter Pylori. She also recently initiated a research project focused on the synthesis of the complex shellfish toxins, the spirolides, that have potential for the development of novel pharmacological probes.