Small Molecule Probes and Inhibitors Series

Navigating the Promise and Perils of Chemical Probes through Community-Driven Expertise – November 17, 2015

Chemical probes are powerful reagents with increasing impacts on biomedical research. However, probes of poor quality or that are used incorrectly generate misleading results. To help address these shortcomings, we are building a community-driven online resource to improve quality and convey current best practice.

In this presentation, we will highlight some selected examples of promising, high quality chemical probes and probes of lesser value. We will discuss the prevalence of using lesser quality probes and the costs. We will then detail our plans to develop the Chemical Probes Portal, a web-based resource annotated by the chemical biology community that allows users to reference the most appropriate chemical probe (or probes) for a given protein target. The Portal will be an online community of scientists, reviewers, editors.

What Will You Learn?

Topics will include:

  • Chemical probes
  • Requirements of high-quality chemical probes
  • Target validation
  • Proper selection and usage of chemical probes
  • Chemical Probes Portal


Bill Zuercher
Principal Investigator
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Amy Donner
Director of Business Development/Communications
Chemical Probes Portal

Sulfonyl Fluorides in Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery Webinar

Sulfonyl fluorides are privileged protein-reactive functional groups due to their context-specific reactivity with a broad range of amino acid residues (tyrosine, serine, lysine, threonine, cysteine and histidine). As a result, they are ideally suited to a myriad of applications in chemical biology and drug discovery. To highlight the growing utility of sulfonyl fluoride chemical probes, examples will be provided from the literature and work in which Dr. Jones has been involved.

What Will You Learn?

Topics to be discussed include

  • Sulfonyl fluorides as biocompatible, protein-reactive groups
  • Covalent modification of amino acid residues in a context-specific manner
  • Synthetic chemistry compatible with the sulfonyl fluoride functionality
  • Current applications of sulfonyl fluoride probes – utility in drug discovery
  • Predicting amino acid reactivity
  • Future prospects for sulfonyl fluoride chemical biology – expanding the toolbox


Lyn Jones
Head of Rare Diseases Chemistry
Chemical Biology Group Leader