Theodorakis, Emmanuel
Synthetic, Medicinal, Bioorganic and Biological Chemistry, Methods and Strategies in Natural Products Chemistry

Contact Information
Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office: Pacific Hall 5225A
Phone: 858-822-0456
Group: View group members
1993 Ph.D., Paris XI University
1989 M.S., Paris XI University
1987 B.S., University of Athens
Awards and Academic Honors
Teddy G. Traylor Scholar Award, UCSD
Member HQAA, External Evaluation Committee, University of Patras, Greece
Plenary Speaker: Frontiers in Chemistry, Nanyang Technological Institute, Singapore
Plenary Speaker: XIth ICSN Symposium in honor of Pierre Potier, Paris France
Editorial board member: Current Chemical Biology
Guest Editor, Tetrahedron Symposia-in-Print
Ad Hoc Member National Institutes of Health
Distinguished 3eme Cycle Lecture Series Speaker: Switzerland
Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker: Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
UCSD representative on Biotechnology Research Council, UC Discovery Grant
Hellman Faculty Fellowship Award
Postdoctoral Research Associate, The Scripps Research Institute
Research Interests
The Theodorakis group is engaged in the study of small molecules that can be used as biological tools to control cellular function and as lead structures for the discovery of new therapeutic agents. Building upon the foundations of organic chemistry, the research program invokes interdisciplinary interactions with other fields such as bioengineering, biochemistry, pharmacology and molecular and cellular biology. The ultimate goal of this program is the application of organic synthesis for the investigation of interesting questions or problems in biology and medicine. Our current research activities are focused on two topics: the natural products-driven synthesis and chemical biology and the development of fluorescent biosensors.

Studies in Natural Products Synthesis and Chemical Biology

In addition to their role in drug development, natural products represent unique targets of opportunities for discoveries in the science of chemistry. In fact, natural products synthesis could be viewed as the best way to test the scope and limitations of known and/or new reactions thereby enhancing our general knowledge of chemical reactivity. In turn, this knowledge can be used for the construction of privileged structures and can facilitate pharmacologically-relevant chemical modifications of the target natural product. The Theodorakis group is engaged in the study of innovative methods and strategies applicable to natural products synthesis. Development of sequence of reactions that can generate structural complexity, in particular multiple carbon-carbon bond forming cascades, constitute the basis of this program. In addition, efforts to translate chemical reactivity of the target molecules to biological properties promise to yield important insights regarding natural products-based cellular biology, mode of action and potential drug development.

Chemical tools for biomolecular imaging and fluorescent biosensors

Variations in fluid viscosity are linked to a variety of functions and diseases both at the cellular level and at the organismal level. Based on this, it has been proposed that monitoring of biofluid viscosity could provide a diagnostic tool for the detection of diseases. The Theodorakis group has initiated a program directed toward the development of fluorescent sensors for measurements of fluid viscosity and fluid flow in areas such as the cell membrane, liposomes, blood and microfluidic chambers. The biomedical and bioengineering applications of these nanoviscometers are explored.

Primary Research Area
Organic Chemistry
Interdisciplinary interests

Outreach Activities
Mentoring of minority undergraduate and graduate student.

Chair of Recruiting Committee for Diversity Hire.
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Selected Publications