Justin Potuzak, PhD

Graduate Student

Justin Potuzak, PhD

Graduate Student
Justin Potuzak

Start Year


End Year


Scientific Director, 2012–present
Chameleon Communications International
New York, New York

Instructor, 2009-2011
McLean Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2006-2009
with Prof. Amos B. Smith III
Department of Chemistry
University of Pennsylvania

PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, 2006
Pharmacology Graduate Program
Sloan–Kettering Institute & Weill Cornell Medical College

Vincent du Vigneaud Prize, 2006

Cancer Pharmacology Predoctoral Trainee, 2006

Chemist, National Starch & Dye, 2000–2001

BS, Drew University, 2000

Thesis: Stereocontrolled Synthesis of Spiroketals Using Novel Cyclization Reactions, December 20, 2006


  1. Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals via Ti(Oi-Pr)4-mediated kinetic spirocyclization of glycal epoxides with retention of configuration.
    Moilanen, S. B.; Potuzak, J. S.; Tan, D. S.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 1792–1793.
    Abstract | PubMed | PMC ]
    (Highlighted in Nature )
  2. Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals via a remarkable methanol-induced kinetic spirocyclization reaction.
    Potuzak, J. S.; Moilanen, S. B.; Tan, D. S.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 13796–13797.
    Abstract | PubMed  ]
  3. Synthesis of C1-alkyl and C1-acylglycals from glycals using a B-alkyl Suzuki–Miyaura cross coupling approach.
    Potuzak, J. S.; Tan, D. S.* Tetrahedron Lett. 2004, 45, 1797–1801.
    Abstract ]
  4. Discovery and applications of small molecule probes for studying biological processes.
    Potuzak, J. S.; Moilanen, S. B.; Tan, D. S.* Biotechnol. Genet. Eng. Rev. 2004, 21, 11–78.
    PubMed ]

News Articles

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]

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)]

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]

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]