Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Committee Member

Lydia McKinstry

Number of Pages



Apoptosis is a normal biological process in which cells commit suicide. In cancer cells, a family of proteases called caspases, is involved in one or more of the signaling pathways leading to apoptosis. To better understand this cellular mechanism at the molecular level, selective inhibition of each caspase would allow scientists to determine the exact function of that caspase in the overall pathway. The long term goal of this research project is the synthesis of new, highly specific caspase inhibitors that will be used to study the mechanism of apoptosis in certain cancer cells. The first step, and the primary focus of this thesis, is successful development of a synthetic route to a group of aminofluorohexenone precursor molecules. The strategy for synthesizing these subtargets first involves investigation of a method for carbon-carbon bond formation adjacent to nitrogen, that focuses on an electrophilic substitution reaction based on charge affinity inversion of customary amine reactivity. The second part of the synthetic strategy involves generation of pentenoic acid analogs to be used as electrophiles in the overall construction of the caspase inhibitor aminofluorohexenone precursors.


Aminofluorohexenones; Caspase; Development; Inhibitors; Novel; Precursors; Route; Synthetic

Controlled Subject

Organic chemistry

File Format


File Size

1689.6 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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