For years, if you asked the people working to create new pharmaceutical drugs what they wished for, at the top of their lists would be a way to easily replace a carbon atom with a nitrogen atom in a molecule.

But two studies from chemists at the University of Chicago, published in Science and Nature, offer two new methods to address this wish. The findings could make it easier to develop new drugs.

"This is the grand-challenge problem that I started my lab to try to solve," said Mark Levin, an associate professor of chemistry and the senior author on both papers. "We haven't totally solved it, but we've taken two really big bites out of the problem, and these findings lay a clear foundation for the future."

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