News Articles

News Articles


Keep up-to-date on all the latest news about diversity-oriented synthesis, rational drug design, and chemical biology research the Tan Lab here!


Antibiotic Discovery Webinar: Penetrating Gram-Negative Bacteria
CDD Collaborative Drug Discovery
Gram negative bacteria present an important medical challenge because their outer membrane protects them from many antibiotics. This CDD webinar presents the latest scientific progress on understanding and circumventing this phenomenon by applying both modeling and experimental methods to validate hypotheses. Dr. Brad Sherborne (Merck) hosts an engaging discussion on this topic with Prof. Derek Tan (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) and Prof. Helen Zgurskaya (University of Oklahoma). [Video and Slide Presentation]


New rules for Gram-negative antibiotics
Chemical & Engineering News
In the fight against pathogenic bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa are particularly challenging foes. A new study by Prof. Paul Hergenrother’s group demonstrates the power of a systematic approach to assessing the influence of physicochemical properties on compound accumulation in Gram-negative bacteria. [Full text]


2016 EMBO Chemical Biology Conference
From 31st August to 3rd September, the biannual EMBO Chemical Biology conference, hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, took place. The conference series has a well-deserved reputation as one of the finest meetings representing this discipline of life-science research. Prof. Satpal Virdee summarizes Derek’s presentation on the lab’s work on adenylation enzyme inhibitors as novel antibiotics and anticancer agents. [Full text]

A Day in the Life: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
At Memorial Sloan Kettering, we’re not only changing the way we treat cancer, but also the way the world thinks about it. By working together and pushing forward with innovation and discovery, we’re driving excellence and improving outcomes. Pharmacology graduate student Christopher Evans and postdoctoral fellows Dr. Indrajeet Sharma and Dr. Joshua Brooks of the Tan Lab are featured in this video! [Video]


An interview with Derek Tan
MSK Center News
Chemical biology is bringing new analytic techniques, molecular probes, and potential therapeutic leads to biomedical research — and to cancer research in particular. To take advantage of this new vanguard, Memorial Sloan Kettering has created a Chemical Biology Program within the Sloan Kettering Institute under the leadership of chemist Derek Tan. [PDF]

Voices of Chemical Biology: What do you value most about being part of the chemical biology community?
Nature Chemical Biology
As part of its 10th anniversary, Nature Chemical Biology asked leading chemical biologists for their views on a variety of issues pertinent to the field. In this issue, Derek Tan comments on the pen-minded, innovative spirit of chemical biologists. [Full Text]

Drug Development & Discovery and Scientific Uncertainty
Science Forward Video Series: Season 2
Derek Tan has been featured in Science Forward, a video series produced by the Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York (CUNY). In the video on “Drug Development and Discovery”, Derek talks about the wide range of skills and approaches chemical biologists use to design and synthesize new potential drugs. Viewers can catch a glimpse of the Tan lab as well as TPCB student Michaelyn Lux in action. In “Scientific Uncertainty”, Derek is quoted on the exciting role of uncertainty in our research. [Science Forward: Drug Development and DiscoveryScientific Uncertainty]

New Chemical Biology Program brings power of chemistry to biomedical research
MSK On Cancer Blog
MSK has established the Chemical Biology Program to leverage the growing role of chemistry in biomedical research. The first new Sloan Kettering Institute program in over a decade is chaired by Derek Tan. [Full text]

Voices of Chemical Biology: What is the most significant challenge facing chemical biology as a discipline?
Nature Chemical Biology
As part of its 10th anniversary, Nature Chemical Biology asked leading chemical biologists for their views on a variety of issues pertinent to the field. In this issue, Derek Tan comments on the challenges and opportunities of multidisciplinary collaboration. [Full Text]


Quantifying the Trojan Horse
ACS Chemical Biology
Developing new antibiotics is of increasing interest, but predicting which candidate molecules can pass through a bacterium’s first line of defense, the cell membrane, remains a challenge. Tony Davis in the Tan Lab addresses this problem in a recent paper in ACS Chemical Biology. [Full text]


Taking clues from Nature for the development of new drugs
MSK On Cancer Blog
Natural products are molecules that are produced by living organisms. They are often made by bacteria and fungi, but they may also be made by plants and animals. Derek Tan discusses why natural products offer inspiration for the development of new drugs. [Full text]

Ringing in new drug candidates
Chemical & Engineering News
Many compound screening collections consist primarily of molecules that do not possess the structural, stereochemical, and functional complexity equivalent to that of natural products. Prof. Paul Hergenrother’s group has reported a new ring distortion method of constructing natural-product-like libraries to address that deficiency. [Full text]


Trojan horse tuberculosis treatment
Chemistry World
The emergence of drug resistant bacterial strains has led to an urgent need for new antibiotic agents. Prof. Marvin Miller’s group is utilising the iron uptake pathway of Mycobacterium tuberculosis as a ‘Trojan horse’ approach to tuberculosis treatment. [Full text]

Ring expansion approach for synthesizing libraries of macrolactones and macrolactams
A synthetic approach using ring expansion to generate lactone and lactam classes of macrocycles could provide new drug leads for targets that are difficult to modulate with small molecules. Felix Kopp and Christopher Stratton’s recent paper in Nature Chemical Biology is highlighted. [Full text]


Collaborative Team Advances the Understanding of an Important Activity Inside Cells
MSKCC Center News
A collaborative team of researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering has determined the mechanism for a biological process that plays a key role in regulating cellular behavior. The process — and the enzymes that control it — has been studied for 30 years, but until now it was a mystery to researchers in the field how this complex reaction takes place. [Full text]

Activation of Protein Tags: Enzymology: To prepare biological labels for attachment, E1 enzymes dramatically remodel themselves
Chemical & Engineering News
In a tour de force chemical, structural, and mechanistic study that took five years, researchers have solved a long-standing mystery in a Nobel Prize-winning field of research-they have shown how E1 enzymes activate ubiquitin and related proteins to tag other proteins. [Full text]

Structural Biology: Transformative Encounters
Researchers have met the challenge of capturing transient states of the SUMO E1 activating enzyme. Their pictures show radically different crystal structures for two of the steps in this enzyme’s activity. [Full text]


Trends in Chemical Biology 2009
NYAS eBriefing
The year-end meeting of the Chemical Biology Discussion Group, held June 1, 2009, highlighted the diverse spokes of chemical biology around a central theme: biomolecular recognition.
[Overview (free) | Meeting report (membership req’d)]
Renato Bauer’s seminar: Asymmetric Synthesis of a Multiscaffold Library for Discovery Screening
[Video (membership req’d)]


From Peptides to Polymers: Molecular probes for biological investigation
NYAS eBriefing
Chemical biologists seek to design new chemical tools for use in research and medicine. Their search is predicated on the incredible diversity of chemical structures, both natural and otherwise. This diversity was well represented at the Chemical Biology Discussion Group’s Special Year-End Meeting, held June 2, 2008.
[Overview (free) | Meeting report (membership req’d)]
Justin Cisar’s seminar: Inhibition of Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase Amino Acid Adenylation Domains
[Video (membership req’d)]

Working at the Hospital: Challenging and rewarding careers in chemistry await at research hospitals and medical centers
Chemical & Engineering News
For many chemists, the traditional career path begins with a job in industry or a position leading to a tenure-track spot in an academic department. But synthetic, medicinal, and organic chemists are increasingly carving out rewarding careers at research hospitals and medical centers. [Full text]

A Novel Niche Approach to Antibacterial Drug Development
Start-Up Magazine
Researchers are finding new ways to disable bacteria, either by increasing their sensitivity to existing drugs or decreasing their virulence. A group recently reported encouraging, if very early, results about the ability of an inhibitor of virulence factor biosynthesis to control tuberculosis infection. [Full text (subscription req’d)]


New Drug Targets May Fight Tuberculosis and Other Bacterial Infections in Novel Way
Weill Cornell News
Research into “virulence factors” expands war against infectious disease beyond antibiotics, Weill Cornell researchers say. [Full text]

An Interview with Derek Tan
MSKCC Center News
To understand biology, scientists often use the power of chemistry. As the head of a laboratory in the Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program at the Sloan Kettering Institute, Derek Tan is a young leader in the field of chemical biology. [Full text]

28th Annual Memorial Sloan Kettering Convocation Ceremony: Graduates and award winners celebrated
MSKCC Center News
Justin [Potuzak’s] research focused on a class of molecule called spiroketals that are found in a variety of biologically natural products. He developed a brand-new approach to synthesizing these molecules and in the process discovered a truly novel chemical reaction. His molecules are now being tested against a wide range of biological targets. [Full text]

2007 Sloan Research Fellowships Announced Alfred P. Sloan Foundation


Better Living through Chemistry: New tools in chemical biology
NYAS eBriefing
Chemical biology encompasses a highly diverse array of experimental approaches, and this diversity was quite well represented at a meeting on May 31, 2006, at the Academy.
[Overview (free) | Meeting report (membership req’d)]
Justin Potuzak’s seminar: Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals using novel kinetic cyclization reactions
[Video (membership req’d)]

27th Annual Convocation Ceremony
MSKCC Center News
Sirkka Moilanen was awarded a Frank L. Horsfall, Jr. Fellowship for 2006-2007. [Full text]

2006 Convocation Awards for Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Weill Cornell News Dean’s Bulletin
Justin Potuzak was awarded a 2006 Vincent du Vigneaud Prize for his work on the stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals using novel kinetic cyclization reactions. [Full text]

Chemical Biology Initiative Symposium 2006: Frontiers of Drug Discovery: Chemical Library Development and Screening
University of Minnesota
The ability to design chemical probes capable of modulating and altering biological processes in highly defined ways is essential to carrying out modern biomedical and pharmaceutical research. The aim of this workshop was to inform biomedical, pharmacological, medicinal, computational and chemical researchers at the University of Minnesota of recent advances in chemical library design and screening with the goal of fostering multidisciplinary research projects harnessing these techniques. [Program (PDF)]

Chemistry: Order of the rings
One of the great challenges in organic chemistry is developing novel ways to synthesize complex structures. The best reactions work for a range of chemical substrates, and give high yields. By these criteria, a reaction, discovered by Derek Tan of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and his co-workers is near ideal. [Full text]


New Potential Antibiotic Inhibits Bacterial Growth
MSKCC Center News
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University researchers have synthesized a molecule impeding the growth of two harmful bacteria: M. tuberculosis, estimated to infect one-third of the world’s population, and Y. pestis, the cause of pneumonic and bubonic plague. [Fulltext]

Investigadores elaboran compuesto para combatir bacterias de la tuberculosis y la peste negra
Mercosur Económico
Investigadores de dos prestigiosas instituciones de Nueva York…desarrollaron un compuesto capaz de combatir bacterias -de la tuberculosis y de la peste negra- y permitir la elaboración de nuevas drogas contra una enfermedad que afecta a un tercio de la población mundial -la tuberculosis- y otra en condiciones de ser empleada como arma biológica en bioterrorismo -la peste negra-. [Full text (PDF)]

A New Way To Fight Bacteria: Inhibitor blocks biosynthesis of key bacterial iron-scavenging agent
Chemical & Engineering News
A novel strategy for fighting bacterial infections has been demonstrated: blocking bacterial biosynthesis of siderophores, compounds that make it possible for certain bacteria to obtain iron, which they require to grow and to cause disease. [Full text]

Chemical Biology: Ironing out bugs
Researchers from Cornell University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York have devised a molecule that binds to and inhibits enzymes involved in siderophore synthesis. The compound successfully reduces the growth of both Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Yersinia pestis under iron-poor in vitro conditions. [Full text]

Governor, Majority Leader and Speaker Announce $2 Million in Biotech Research Awards: Targeted funding will help attract, retain promising early career scientists
Governor George E. Pataki, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver announced $2 million in [James D. Watson Investigator Program] awards designed to recognize and support outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show potential for leadership and scientific discovery in the field of biotechnology. [Full text (PDF)

NIH Initiatives Target Chemistry: New road-map-related initiatives show agency values role of chemistry in biomedical research
Chemical & Engineering News
Graduate student Shiying Shang and postdoctoral fellow Jae-Sang Ryu work on developing diversity-oriented syntheses of libraries in the lab of Tan—work that fits nicely into a new road-map-related initiative. [Full text (membership req’d) | Full text (PDF)]


Rescuing CombiChem: Diversity-oriented synthesis aims to pick up where traditional combinatorial chemistry left off
Chemical & Engineering News
What distinguishes DOS from traditional combichem? For one thing, DOS libraries typically consist of tens to hundreds of compounds, versus the tens of thousands to millions of compounds produced in many traditional combinatorial syntheses. Also, most DOS compounds have cyclic architectures and resemble natural products-which are often designed by nature to be biologically active from the start-whereas compounds generated by traditional combichem weren’t necessarily that complex. [Full text]

Tireless Hunter of Cures and Kids
New York Post
Derek Tan, a 31-year-old organic chemist who has been part of the campaign to help missing children since he was a teenager, lives by a simple formula. “It comes back to trying to address people issues,” said Tan, who heads a research lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and also serves as an advisory board member to the Manhattan office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. [Excerpt | Full text (PDF)]

James Engstrom and Derek Tan are Named Members of the Field of Chemistry
Cornell Chemistry and Chemical Biology Newsletter
The department is pleased to announce the addition of James R.Engstrom and Derek S. Tan to the graduate field of chemistry. [Full text (PDF)]


Access is uppermost for research collaborators in Tri-Institutional program
Cornell Chronicle
For biomedical educators who have joined the Tri-Institutional Research Program (TIRP), it’s all about access — access to the technological resources, to potential scientific collaborators and to the top-tier students they need to do their very best work.