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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Research Horizons: A Better Way to Make Life-Saving Drugs

Chemistry professor Yong Yan has developed a new process to produce the critical chemical bonds necessary to make pharmaceuticals.
By Kellie Woodhouse and Scott Hargrove

SDSU’s Research Horizons series highlights early career faculty and their burgeoning research projects.
One day pharmaceutical drugs will be faster, cheaper and greener to produce.
At least that’s the hope of San Diego State University chemistry professor Yong Yan, who has developed a new way to produce the critical chemical bonds necessary to make drugs using renewable solar energy.
Yan’s novel process uses a solar cell material called perovskite to act as a catalyst, spurring the chemical reactions needed to bond elements and make drugs. Perovskite is exponentially cheaper and more efficient than other catalysts currently used in drug synthesis.
“This material does not require complicated manufacturing processes and is widely accessible — making it an ideal choice as scientists develop highly-valuable molecules, and ultimately pharmaceuticals,” Yan said.
Yan’s research is funded by a three-year $390,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant.