Contact Information

  • James E. Hutchison
  • Professor
  • Chemistry
  • Materials Science Inst.
  • Univ. of Oregon
  • Eugene, OR 97403
(541) 346 - 4228

Combinatorial Chemistry: Antibiotic Drug Discovery

Laboratory Procedures (PDF)

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This multidisciplinary discovery laboratory introduces students to the concept of combinatorial chemistry. By reacting a series of aldehydes with a series of hydrazines, various combinations of sixteen hydrazones are synthesized in eight different test tubes. Students are given insight into drug discovery as these mixtures are tested for antibiotic activity (Eschericia coli ). Students must then determine which hydrazone might serve as the best potential drug. Organic students learn how to rapidly prepare libraries of compounds and are introduced to sterile techniques all while having carbonyl chemistry lessons reinforced. The obvious connections to the pharmaceutical industry capture the interest of biology majors and other students headed towards health-related careers. The link to the laboratory procedure includes pre- and post- lab questions.

Summary prepared July 2005 by Charles G. Bass, Department of Chemistry at Wofford College.


Doxsee, K. M.; Hutchison, J. E. Green Organic Chemistry - Strategies, Tools, and Laboratory Experiments, Print 2004; pp 231-238.

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Category Descriptors

Chemistry Concepts
  • Aldehydes/Ketones
  • Aqueous Solution Chemistry
  • Carbonyl Chemistry
  • Combinatorial Chemistry
Laboratory Techniques
  • Biological Assays
  • Sterile Techniques
Green Chemistry Principles
  • Design Safer Chemicals and Products
  • Increase Energy Efficiency
  • Prevent Waste
  • Use Safer Solvents/Reaction Conditions
Chemistry Subdiscipline
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
Target Audience
  • Colleges/Universities
  • Books