Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy

College of Pharmacy

Faculty in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy


Judy Bolton

Bolton, Judy L.: Professor and Head, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1988) University of Toronto

Research interests: Chemical toxicology. The toxic effects elicited by dietary constituents often involves oxidative metabolism to electrophilic intermediates. We utilize chemical and biological approaches to study the cytotoxic/genotoxic mechanism including synthesis, spectroscopy, chromatography and enzymology. Metabolites and metabolic intermediates are identified, and their effects on various biochemical parameters studied.
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Karol Bruzik

Bruzik, Karol S.: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1980) Polish Academy of Sciences

Research interests: Bioorganic chemistry. Investigation of mechanisms of inositol-related enzymes and their function in cell signaling events. Synthesis of analogs of biophosphates as inhibitors and probes of enzyme mechanisms. Real-time, live-cell assay of enzymatic activities in response to receptor stimulation. Isolation, structure determination and synthesis of novel phosphoinositide second messengers.
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Joanna Burdette

Burdette, Joanna E.: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy; Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, College of Pharmacy. Ph.D. (2003) University of Illinois at Chicago

Research interests: The Burdette lab is interested in biological questions that are important for women’s health. We integrate imaging, drug discovery, and basic biology to try and understand how and where ovarian cancers originate. Our research primarily uses mouse models to understand early events in ovarian cancers. We are also using natural products to uncover new progestins and anti-cancer molecules.
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CT Che

Che, Chun-Tao: Norman R. Farnsworth Professor of Pharmacognosy, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. Ph.D. (1982) University of Illinois at Chicago

Research interests: Interested in natural drugs and Chinese medicine, including: 1. Natural products chemistry: isolation, characterization, and structural elucidation of secondary metabolites from medicinal plants and other natural sources. 2. Biologically active natural substances. 3. Chemical/biological standardization and quality assessment of herbal drugs and herb-based preparations. 4. Development of analytical techniques for herbal drug analysis. 5. Development of evidence-based Chinese medicine and other natural products
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Michael Federle

Federle, Michael J.: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (2002) Emory University, Atlanta

Research interests:Research focuses on discovering and understanding how bacteria communicate among themselves as a means for organizing group behaviors, especially behaviors facilitating the initiation and progression of disease in humans.  Cell-to-cell communication in bacteria, termed Quorum Sensing, relies on a language of small, secreted signaling molecules called autoinducers.  Bacteria detect and respond to autoinducers through various types of receptor proteins sitting atop gene regulatory networks.  it is my goal to identify and describe the production and structure of new autoinducers and their cognate signal-transduction networks that contribute to the pathogenic state of the microorganism.  Our lab will use classic bacterial genetic and molecular biology techniques combined with conventional genomic, proteomic, and metabolomic analyses to identify components and targets of these signaling systems.  Structural analysis of autoinducers and receptors, as well as screening for inhibitory compounds, will also be a focus of our work.  I am concentrating my efforts on Gram-positive pathogens, as these organisms pose the most current threat in developing resistance to multiple antibiotic treatments.  It is my hope that our research will lead to the development of new therapies that exploit and confuse communication systems bacteria use to organize attacks on the body.
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Scott Franzblau

Franzblau, Scott, G.: Professor and Director of the Institute for Tuberculosis Research, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1982) University of Arizona

Research interests: New drug discovery from natural and synthetic sources for tuberculosis; high throughput screening assay development; new drug target identification using proteomic and metabolomic analyses of dormant M. tuberculosis, low-tech clinical drug susceptibility assay development.
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Les Hanakahi

Hanakahi, Les: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1996) Yale University

Research interests: The major pathway for DNA Double-Strand Break repair in human cells is Non-Homologous End Joining (NHEJ). The primary focus of my research is to understand, in molecular detail, how DNA ends that are exposed by a DSB are recognized, protected from degradation and efficiently re-joined in human cells. Much of the research being done in my lab centers on the participation of a small molecule, inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6), in the repair of DSBs by mammalian NHEJ. We have found that IP6 is bound by an NHEJ factor and stimulates NHEJ in vitro. This finding opened new possibilities for investigating the molecular mechanism of NHEJ and exciting new avenues for pharmaceutical control of NHEJ in human cells.
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Michael Johnson

Johnson, Michael E.: Professor Emeritus, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and Director of the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Ph.D. (1973) Northwestern University

Research interests: Structural biology of proteins and RNA; structure-based design of therapeutic agents using modern techniques of computer-aided drug design, combinatorial expansion, in silico screening of chemical libraries and related technologies. Modern biotechnology provides an enormous range of tools for the development of new therapeutic agents to treat infectious diseases and other human ailments.
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Alan Kozikowski

Kozikowski, Alan P.: Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1974) University of California, Berkeley

Research interests: Using the latest methods of organic synthesis combined with information gleaned from the methods of molecular modeling (both small molecule and protein modeling) to design and synthesize molecules that can be used to gain a better understanding of the function of specific molecular targets. These chemical tools in turn aid in the design of valuable diagnostics as well as therapies for treating human diseases including neurodegenerative conditions and cancer.
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Alexander Mankin

Mankin, Alexander S.: Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and the Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Ph.D. (1981) Moscow State University

Research Interests: Mechanisms of protein synthesis; structure, function and evolution of ribosome and ribosomal RNA; mechanisms of action of ribosome-targeted antibiotics.
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Terry Moore

Moore, Terry W.: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (2008) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Interests:Our research group is interested in inhibiting protein-protein interactions implicated in the progression of certain types of cancer, particularly hormone-responsive and -refractory cancers.  Specifically, we are interested in inhibiting the Nrf2/Keap1 interaction, an interaction involved in various disease states because of Nrf2’s central role in regulating the cell’s response to reactive species. The second project is focused on inhibiting the interactions of nuclear receptors with coactivators. We study these interactions using fluorescence-based assays, and the lab uses the tools of synthetic medicinal chemistry to develop both small molecule- and peptide-based inhibitors.
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Brian Murphy

Murphy, Brian T.: Assistant Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (2007) Virginia Tech

Research interests: The surfaces of marine organisms provide a source of nutrients for microbes within our oceans. Consequently a competition for space results between surface-colonizing (epibiotic) microorganisms. We propose that select secondary metabolites from epibiotic bacteria, which serve as chemical defenses or means of inter- and intra-species microbial communication, can be utilized to probe and combat the pathogenic mechanisms of human microbial pathogens. In the Murphy lab, these epibiotic bacteria are collected from unique source organisms, cultivated in liquid culture, crudely separated, and screened against a variety of human pathogens with the ultimate intent of discovering novel antibiotic structural classes. Of particular interest is the target Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a pathogen responsible for 1.5 ­ 2.3 million deaths in 2008 [WHO Global Tuberculosis Control report]. We work in close collaboration with the Institute for Tuberculosis Research at UIC (, who has both in vitro and in vivo screening capacity.
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Jimmy Orjala

Orjala, Jimmy: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1993) Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Switzerland.

Research interests: Our research is focused on three areas: 1. Discovery of pharmacological active natural products from cultured cyanobacteria. 2. Chemical communication between microorganisms and its role in the phenomenon of ‘uncultivable’ microorganisms. 3. Novel antineoplastic agents from higher plants. Our research tools are modern chromatographic methods coupled with sensitive analytical techniques, such as microcoil NMR techniques, and molecular target assays.
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Guido Pauli

Pauli, Guido F.: Professor and University Scholar, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1993) Heinrich Heine–University Düsseldorf; Pharm.D., 1988, Philipps University Marburg..

Research interests: Within the realm of modern pharmacognosy, investigation of traditional as well as novel natural products by means of chemical, biological, pharmacological and metabolome analysis. Research tools are computer-aided structure elucidation, multidimensional and quantitative NMR, modern chromatographic methods including countercurrent chromatography, in tandem with in vitro and in vivo biology and pharmacology as well as microbiological methods. Relying on this tool chest, research focuses are in phytopharmacy and phytochemistry, herbal dietary supplements, reference materials, anti-TB drugs and mycobacterial secondary metabolites.
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Pavel Petukhov

Petukhov, Pavel A.: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1998) Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russia

Research Interests: Development of new methods and biologically orthogonal chemical tools for chemical biology and translation of this knowledge to discovery of novel therapeutically relevant compounds; structure-, ligand-, and fragment-based drug design using a mix of medicinal chemistry, computer-aided drug design, and bioinformatics. The current focus of the laboratory is on the development of methods for characterization of multiple binding modes of the ligands in the binding sites of histone deacetylases (HDAC) using photoactivatable chemical probes and discovery of novel inhibitors of HDACs, calpain, beta-secretases 1 and 2, pantothenate synthetase, and malate synthase with potential application in cancer, neurological and bacterial diseases.
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Doel Soejarto

Soejarto, D. Doel: Professor and Director of the Pharmacognosy Field Station, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, and the Department of Biology, Ph.D. (1969) Harvard University

Research interests: Taxonomy and conservation of plants, with special focus in Southeast Asia, particularly, Vietnam and Laos, and study of plants used in indigenous therapy, as well as tropical rainforest explorations of new and potential medicinal plants (bioprospecting), as part of collaborative research projects at UIC. I also study the taxonomy of the family Actinidiaceae. Since 1998, I have been directing an international collaborative program to study the biodiversity of Vietnam and Laos, as part of the International Cooperative Biodiversity Groups (ICBG) Program ( and of the Fogarty International Center, NIH. Our ICBG program activities include floristics and conservation at Cuc Phuong National Park; studies of medicinal plants of Laos; biological evaluation of plants of Vietnam and Laos using anti-HIV, anticancer, anti-TB and anti-malarial bioassays toward the discovery of biologically active molecules as potential candidates for pharmaceutical development; and the promotion of economic development among communities in Vietnam and Laos, where our ICBG work is being undertaken. Aside from UIC as base institution, our ICBG consortium members include Purdue University, Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology in Hanoi (Institute of Biotechnology, Institute of Chemistry, and Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources), Cuc Phuong National Park (Vietnam), Traditional Medicine Research Center in Vientiane (Laos), and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (industrial partner).
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Gregory Thatcher

Thatcher, Gregory R.: Professor and Hans W. Vahlteich Chair in Medicinal Chemistry; Assistant Head, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1986) University of Toronto

Research interests: Employing the tools of mechanistic organic chemistry and the ability to synthesize novel compounds, biomimetics are being developed as probes of biological systems. These mimetics have the capacity to further understanding of biological processes, chemical toxicology and in some cases to provide new drug candidates. This program is revealing new therapeutics for neurological disorders and for cancer.
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Douglas Thomas

Thomas, Douglas D.: Associate Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (2000) Louisiana State University

Research interests: Our goal is to elucidate fundamental mechanisms to explain the etiologies of cancer. In addition to gene mutations, aberrant epigenetic modifications also play major roles in cancer development and progression. The primary focus of this lab is to investigate the myriad of abnormal epigenetic modifications that have been associated with tumor phenotype via tumor suppressor silencing or upregulation of oncogenic proteins. Our approach uses both in vitro and in vivo model systems coupled with a multitude of methodologies including mass spectroscopy, confocal microscopy, electron paramagnetic resonance imaging of free radicals, chemiluminescence, electrochemical, and molecular biology techniques. The current emphasis of our team focuses on genome-wide analysis of events leading to the development and ultimate treatment of breast cancer.
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Richard van Breemen

van Breemen, Richard B.: Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Director of the UIC/NIH Center for Dietary Supplements Research, and Assistant to the Director of the Research Resources Center, Ph.D. (1985) The Johns Hopkins University

Research interests: Biomedical applications of tandem mass spectrometry (MS-MS) and HPLC-MS-MS including the discovery and development of botanical natural products for cancer chemoprevention and women's health. We are using mass spectrometry in all aspects of drug discovery and development from the screening of plant extracts for the discovery of new therapeutic agents to in vitro models of drug metabolism and bioavailability studies in clinical trials.
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Charles Woodbury

Woodbury, Charles P.: Associate Professor and Assistant Head, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Ph.D. (1975) University of Wisconsin.

Research interests: Biophysical chemistry of proteins and nucleic acids; electrolyte and polyelectrolyte solutions; macromolecular binding theory; stochastic theory of single molecule reaction kinetics; statistical theory of chromatography. Studies in these fundamental areas will help in the future development of therapeutics and diagnostics.
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Ludwig Bauer Bauer, Ludwig
Audrey Bingel Bingel, Audrey S.
G.A. Cordell Cordell, Geoffrey A.
John Fitzloff Fitzloff, John F.
Harry Fong Fong, Harry H.S.
Tony Hopfinger Hopfinger, Anton J.
Mike Johnson Johnson, Michael E.
Matthias Lu Lu, Matthias C.




Research Faculty

  Name Research Group Affiliation
Jennifer Chang Chang, Jennifer
Shaonong Chen Chen, Shaonong
Shaonong Chen Chlipala, George
Shaonong Chen Cho, Sang Hyun
Institute for Tuberculosis Research
Birgit Dietz Dietz, Birgit M.
icon-m Gaisina, Irina
Tammie Dowers Graham, James G.
Tammie Dowers Gyllenhaal, Charlotte
icon-m Hickok, Jason
Birgit Jaki Jaki, Birgit U.
Institute for Tuberculosis Research
Larry Klein Klein, Larry L.
Institute for Tuberculosis Research
Aleksej Krunic Krunic, Aleksej
NMR, Shared Laboratory Resources
David Lankin Lankin, David C.
Hyun Lee Lee, Hyun
Farah Movahedzadeh Movahed Zadeh, Farahnaz
Institute for Tuberculosis Research
Dejan Nikolic Nikolic, Dejan S.
van Breemen
Mass Spec Facility
Colleen Piersen Piersen, Colleen E.
Kiira Ratia Ratia, Kiira M.
Russo, Angela
Bernie Santarsiero Santarsiero, Bernard D.
RRC Macromolecular Structure Facility
RRC Small Molecule X-ray Facility
Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Nora Vazquez-Laslop Vazquez-Laslop, Nora
Center for Pharmaceutical Biotechnology
Yueting Wang Wang, Yueting
Ming Zhao Zhao, Ming




Adjunct Faculty

Cingy Angerhofer Angerhofer, Cindy K.
Aveda Institute / Aveda Corporation
Aldwin Anterola Anterola, Aldwin  
Daniel Becker Becker, Daniel P. MDCH 594
Keith Block Block, Keith I.   
male icon Cook, Chyung
MDCH 594
Paul Cox Cox, Paul Alan
male icon Cullum, Malford E.   
William Dunn Dunn, William J.
Michael Flavin Fabricant, Daniel S.
Division Director, Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Michael Flavin Flavin, Michael T.
Advanced Life Sciences, Inc.
male icon Friesen, John B.  
Charlotte Gyllenhaal Gyllenhaal, Charlotte
male icon Hansen, Donald W. Jr. MDCH 594
Doug Kinghorn Kinghorn, A. Douglas The Ohio State University
Bill Marks Marks, William H. Swedish Medical Center
Jim McAlpine McAlpine, James B.  
Richard Moon Mesecar, Andrew D. Purdue University
Richard Moon Moon, Richard  
Yuan Ping Pang Pang, Yuan-Ping Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
John Pezzuto Pezzuto, John M. University of Hawaii Hilo
Barry Pitzele Pitzele, Barnett S. MDCH 594, PHAR 331 (Fall 2008-2010)
Steve Swanson Swanson, Steven M. University of Wisconsin
Duane Venton Venton, Duane L.  
male icon Woodford, Mark M. MDCH 594
Joseph Zhou Zhou, Zi (Joseph) Now Foods