Richard W. Fitch - Research

Richard W. Fitch

Assistant Professor
Bioorganic/Medicinal Chemistry

B.S., 1992, Western Kentucky University
Ph.D., 1998, University of Louisville

Postdoctoral Experience
1999-2003 National Institutes of Health

Phone (812) 237-2244
Fax: (812) 237-2232
Office: Science S35E

Curriculum vita

Mission Statement

Expectations of Group Members


Student Presentations

Research Interests

Our laboratory is interested in a variety of research areas, centered around the theme of bioactive molecules, especially natural products.  The central biological target is the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR).  The nAChR is a ligand-gated ion channel (LGIC) that plays a central role in much of the fast syaptic signaling within the central nervous system.  As such, it is an important target for treatment of disease and a prototypical system for the study of LGICs and membrane associated proteins.   There are a number of subtypes of nAChR, serving a variety of functions in the body.

We have a number of research programs, including synthesis of natural products and the development of synthetic methods to assist in this pursuit.  Isolation and structure elucidation of bioactive natural products, primarily alkaloids, especially those active at nAChRs.  In close association with this program, we have a dedicated pharmacology laboratory equipped for studying nAChRs and do assays to probe the activity of our natural and synthetic compounds.  We also have a program aimed at the structural biology of nAChRs, as limited structural information is available for these  membrane proteins due to the difficulty in obtaining three-dimensional crystals for high-resolution x-ray analysis.

Nicotinic Receptors                                             Structural Biology

Natural Product Synthesis                                   Synthetic Methodology

Pharmacology                                                    Pharmacognosy (What's that?)

Chemical Education

Dr. Fitch's research has been funded in part by the following organizations.  We thank them for their support of our research and the students who benefit from it.


National Science Foundation



Indiana State University
     Center for Public Service and Community Engagement
     University Research Committee
     Promising Scholars Program (Lilly Foundation)