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Xina Wang

Edward Njoo

Xina Wang started her research career at ASDRP in the lab of Prabhjeet Kaur where she examined and identified mutualistic fungal species in Northern California to help farmers determine which species to cultivate in their soils. After her work in environmental microbiology, she transitioned into Edward Njoo’s group where she worked on several projects.

She led a project involving the synthesis of carmofur and novel 5-fluorouracil-related analogs to combat SARS-CoV-2. Carmofur is an anticancer drug that was found to have therapeutic potential against COVID-19, however, its synthesis has historically been challenging due to long reaction times, low yields, and the use of toxic chemicals. Fortunately, carmofur has a fluorine molecule that can be used to monitor its synthesis by benchtop 19F nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Her work has involved using benchtop 19F NMR to optimize carmofur’s synthetic conditions and quantitatively and efficiently monitor the synthesis of a variety of more potent carmofur analogs that can possibly have more efficacious biological activity against cancer and SARS-CoV-2. To read more:

She also worked on the chemical synthesis of 2,4-dihydropyrimidinones via Biginelli multicomponent reactions as potential leads in anti-cancer therapeutics. Benchtop 19F NMR was used to monitor the synthesis of novel trifluorinated analogs of monastrol, a dihydropyrimidinone anticancer agent. Additionally, it was used to better understand the mechanism of the multicomponent reaction used to synthesize monastrol– the Biginelli cyclocondensation. She assisted in developing a reaction monitoring workflow of the Biginelli reaction with benchtop 19F NMR and extended this workflow to synthesize analogs with various aryl aldehyde substituents that would elucidate the effects of para and meta-substituted aryl aldehydes on reaction rate and mechanism. To read more:

Finally, she worked on developing photoreleasable chemotherapeutic prodrugs of podophyllotoxin and antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs). Besides assisting in synthesis and development, using homology modeling and molecular docking, she assisted in finding the binding affinities of the prodrugs to its cancer protein target.

Currently, she continues her work developing novel carmofur analogs in the hopes of conducting computational studies and biological testing on them to determine their anticancer and antiviral activity.

UC Berkeley


Xina Wang
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