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Lou Barrows

Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Adjunct Professor of Pharmacology and Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at University of Papua New Guinea

Natural Products Drug Discovery, Anti-Cancer, Anti-Infective Agents


Louis R. Barrows


Biological Chemistry Program


B.S. California Polytechnic State University

Ph.D. University of California, Irvine




My laboratory is dedicated to the discovery of new anti-cancer and anti-infective agents. Much of what we do can be considered natural products drug discovery.  We identify new drug leads based on their novel chemical structure or mechanism of action.  Extracts of macro- and microorganisms from coral reefs and tropical rain forests provide the new molecules we isolate and evaluate.  Determination of the molecular actions of new molecules and determination of the precise cellular consequences of their activity is often the basis of student doctoral projects. We take bioactive organisms and molecules all the way from the source to the sequencing gel, and then into animal models of human disease.

Our recent major project has focused on linking scientific discovery with conservation and social progress in Papua New Guinea.  We have supported the development of a research lab in the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG), School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and we have funded the botanical survey work of the National Herbarium in the School of Natural and Physical Sciences.  This collaboration has permitted UPNG students to study here in Utah, and also for Utah students to spend time in PNG offering workshops and hands-on training.  We have assisted in many UPNG Honor’s and Master’s students projects aimed at validating traditional phytomedicines, and identifying their active components.  Our work has also funded numerous community education and conservation outreach efforts, which we have linked to the botanical survey expeditions.  Our work in PNG has broadened our research interests to include the discovery of new molecules and mechanisms of anti-HIV and anti-TB activity.

References (Selected Publications)

  1. Kwon, K-H, Serrano, CM, Koch, M, Barrows, LR, Looper, RE. "Synthesis of bicyclic guanidines via cascade hydroamination/Michael additions of mono-N-acryloylpropargylguanidines." Org Lett, 16: 6048-51. (2014)
  2. Lin, Z, Koch, M, Abdel Aziz, MH, Galindo-Murillo, R, Tianero, MD, Cheatham, TE, Barrows, LR, Reilly, CA, Schmidt, EW. "Oxazinin a, a pseudodimeric natural product of mixed biosynthetic origin from a filamentous fungus." Org Lett, 16: 4774-7. (2014)
  3. Tianero, MDB, Kwan, JC, Wyche, TP, Presson, AP, Koch, M, Barrows, LR, Bugni, TS, Schmidt, EW. "Species specificity of symbiosis and secondary metabolism in ascidians." ISME J, 9: 615-28. (2015)
  4. Larson, EC, Hathaway, LB, Lamb, JG, Pond, CD, Rai, PP, Matainaho, TK, Piskaut, P, Barrows, LR, Franklin, MR. "Interactions of Papua New Guinea medicinal plant extracts with antiretroviral therapy." J Ethnopharmacol, 155: 1433-40. (2014)
  5. Jadulco, RC, Pond, CD, Van Wagoner, RM, Koch, M, Gideon, OG, Matainaho, TK, Piskaut, P, Barrows, LR. "4-Quinolone alkaloids from Melochia odorata." J Nat Prod, 77: 183−187. (2014)
  6. Lu, Z, Van Wagoner, RM, Pond, CD, Pole, AR, Jensen, JB, Blankenship, D, Grimberg, BT, Kiapranis, R, Matainaho, TK, Barrows, LR, Ireland, CM. "Myristicyclins A and B: Antimalarial Procyanidins from Horsfieldia spicata from Papua New Guinea." Org. Lett, 16: 346−349. (2014)
  7. Lu, Z, Koch, M, Harper, MK, Matainaho, TK, Barrows, LR, Van Wagoner, RM, Ireland, CM. "Plakinamine M, a Steroidal Alkaloid from the Marine Sponge Corticium sp." J Nat Prod, 76: 2150-2. (2013)
  8. Lin, Z, Koch, M, Pond, CD, Mabeza, G, Seronay, RA, Concepcion, GP, Barrows, LR, Olivera, BM, Schmidt, EW. "Structure and Activity of Lobophorins from a Turrid Mollusk-Associated Streptomyces sp." J Antibiot (Tokyo), 67: 121-6. (2013)
  9. Mai, N, Matainaho, T, Rai, PP, Barrows, LR. “Antimicrobial Activity of Secondary Metabolites from Endophytes Isolated from Medicinal Plants of the Central Province, Papua New Guinea.” Pacific Journal of Medical Sciences, 11: 57-6977. (2013)
  10. Barrows, LR, Matainaho, TK, Rai, PP, Gideon, O, Piskaut, P, Waiin B, Weiblen, G. "Educational Research Opportunities through Collaboration." Sci. New Guinea, 32: 3-6. (2012)
  11. Mai, N, Matainaho, T, Waiin, B, Rai, PP, Barrows, LR. "Antibacterial activity of secondary metabolites synthesized by fungal endophytes isolated from medicinal plants in the Central Province, PNG." Sci. New Guinea, 32: 51-62. (2012)
  12. Jorim, RY, Korape, S, Legu, W, Koch, M, Barrows, LR, Matainaho, TK, Rai, PP. "An ethnobotanical survey of medicinal plants used in the eastern highlands of Papua New Guinea." J Ethnobiol Ethnomed, 8: 47. (2012)
  13. Lu, Z, Harper, MK, Pond, CD, Barrows, LR, Ireland, CM, Van Wagoner, RM. "Thiazoline Peptides and a Tris-Phenethyl Urea from Didemnum molle with Anti-HIV Activity." J Nat Prod, 75: 1436-40. (2012)
  14. Waruruai, J, Sipana, B, Koch, M, Barrows, LR, Matainaho, TK, Rai, PP. "An Ethnobotanical Survey of Medicinal Plants Used in the Siwai and Buin Districts of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville." J Ethnopharmacol, 138: 564-77. (2011)
  15. Jadulco RC, Koch M, Van Wagoner RM, Pond C, Gideon OG, Matainaho T, Piskaut P, Barrows LR. "New Antimycobacterial Triterpenoids from Rhus taitensis." Planta Medica, 77: 1651-4. (2011)
  16. Koch M, Bugni TS, Sondossi M, Ireland CM, Barrows LR. "Exocarpic Acid Inhibits Mycolic Acid Biosynthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis." Planta Med, 76: 1678-1682. (2010)
  17. Barrows, LR, Matainaho, TK, Ireland, CM, Miller, S, Carter, GT, Bugni, TS, Rai, P, Gideon, O, Manoka, B, Piskaut, P, Banka, R, Kiapranis, R, Noro, JN, Pond, CD, Andjelic, CD, Koch, M, Harper, MK, Powan, E, Pole, AR, Jensen, JB. "Making the Most of Papua New Guinea’s Biodiversity: Establishment of an Integrated Set of Programs that Link Botanical Survey with Pharmacological Assessment in 'The Land of the Unexpected'." Pharmaceutical Biology, 47: 795-808. (2009)
  18. Marshall, KM, Andjelic, CD, Tasdemir, D, Concepción, GP, Ireland, CM, Barrows, LR. "Deoxyamphimedine, a Pyridoacridine Alkaloid, Damages DNA via the Production of Reactive Oxygen Species." Marine Drugs, 7: 196-209. (2009)
  19. Koch, M, Bugni, TS, Pond, CD, Sondossi, M, Dindi, M, Piskaut, P, Ireland, CM, Barrows, LR. "Antimycobacterial Activity of Exocarpus latifolius is Due to Exocarpic Acid." Planta Medica, 75: 326-1330. (2009)
  20. Bugni, TS, Andjelic, CD, Pole, AR, Rai, P, Ireland, CM, Barrows, LR. "Biologically active components of a Papua New Guinea analgesic and anti-inflammatory lichen preparation." Fitoterapia, 80: 270-273. (2009)
  21. Sincic, RS, Barrows, LR, Chang-Yen, DA, Eddings, MA, Gale, BK. "Parallel Determination of Phenotypic Cytotoxicity with a Micropattern of Mutant Cell Lines." Biomedical Microdevices, 11: 443-452. (2009)
  22. Noro JS, Barrows LR, Rai P, Ireland CM, Matainaho T, Bugni TS. "Isolation of 6, 22-hopanediol from Pyxine cocoes, lichen used in traditional medicine in Papua New Guinea." Pacific J. of Med. Sci, 5:90-5. (2008)
  23. Andjelic, CD, Planelles, V, Barrows, LR. "Characterizing the anti-HIV activity of papuamide A." Marine Drugs, 6: 528-549. (2008)
  24. Noro, JC, Barrows, LR, Gideon, OG, Ireland, CM, Koch, M, Matainaho, T, Piskaut, P, Pond, CD, Bugni, TS. "Tetrahdroxysqualene from Rhus taitensis shows antimycobacterial activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis." J. Nat. Prod, 71: 1623-1624. (2008)
Last Updated: 4/6/22