Leishmaniasis is one of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases, with hundreds of thousands of cases occurring worldwide annually. The disease originates from being infected by protozoa of the Leishmania genus, which are parasites that destroy mammalian cells as part of their life cycle. Currently utilized treatment strategies for leishmaniasis have many disadvantages, warranting the search for a new leishmaniasis treatment.

Cyanobacteria have been discovered to synthesize a wide variety of cytotoxic chemicals as part of their own defense mechanism. One strain of cyanobacteria, Lyngbya majuscula, produces several families of compounds, one of which is known as the “dragonamides”. Several of the compounds in this class have activity against the leishmania parasite, with the most efficacious one being dragonamide E.

To further understand the antileishmanial mechanism of dragonamide E, a total synthesis is proposed so that researchers can produce dragonamide E in the lab without having to extract it from Lyngbya majuscula. The greater availability of dragonamide E due to a published synthesis route will increase the ease with which research can be done into the antileishmanial properties of dragonamide E, promoting the development of new and more efficacious leishmaniasis treatments.

Date of publication

Summer 7-30-2021

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Sean C. Butler, Dr. Jiyong Lee, Dr. Rachel N. Mason


Master of Science