Bachelor of Arts
Biological and Physical Sciences
Program or Major
Elizabeth Colby Davie
The substitution of deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen containing one proton and one neutron, for a hydrogen has far reaching effects on the behavior of the compound. Scientists have been utilizing the effects of deuterium since 1961. The primary purpose for deuterium has been concentrated in the development of internal standards for NMR and mass spectrometers, due to their relative ‘silence’ in these studies, allowing scientists to elucidate mechanisms and trace a compound's movement throughout the body. However, recently, in addition to the use of deuterium as a standard, it has been added to developing or previously created pharmaceutical compounds with the intent to stabilize the drug. This stabilization can take many forms, including decreasing the rate of metabolic breakdown, decreasing enantiomeric switching, and, in some cases, decreasing toxicity. With this more widespread application, a resurgence of studies have been completed to develop new methods of deuterating a wide variety of molecules, with a focus on common functional groups found within pharmaceutical compounds and mild reaction conditions.
Martinez, Angela, "The Evolution of Deuterium in the Pharmaceutical Industry and Its Effects on Methods of Deuterium Incorporation" (2021). Honors Theses. 87.