Research Associate Professor, Organic and Medicinal Chemistry


Professor Brown’s main research focus is medicinal chemistry toward infectious diseases. Research approaches encompass both the rational design and optimization of bioactive molecules for well-defined targets with the aid of computational modeling and docking, as well as unbiased phenotypic screens and target identification efforts.

Current areas of research and development in infectious disease include:

  • Antifungal therapies – The development of inhibitors of Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) that are selective for fungal isoforms over their human counterparts, for the treatment of invasive fungi such as Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida species
  • Antiviral therapies – The development of pyridopyrimidinones for the broad-spectrum treatment of poxviral diseases including smallpox, cowpox, and monkeypox.
  • Antiparasitics – The development of a novel class of antileishmanial small molecules for the treatment of visceral and cutaneous forms of the neglected tropical diseases leishmaniasis.

As Associate Director of the Boston University Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD) Professor Brown also facilitates collaborative interactions with a network of translational scientists within the Chemical Library Consortium (CLC), who screen the BU-CMD’s unique small molecule collection for new biological activities. These collaborations span a diverse array of therapeutic areas, including oncology, neuroscience, metabolic disorders, as well as infectious disease.


Techniques & Resources

  • Organic Synthesis techniques are used and include modern methods for synthesis, purification, and analysis of organic molecules.
  • Computational techniques are used and include docking of small molecules into protein targets and in silico pharmacophore/shape analysis using the Maestro Software Suite from Schrodinger.
  • The Center for Molecular Discovery (BU-CMD) is an NIH-funded Center at Boston University which focuses on development of new methodologies for the synthesis of chemical libraries and biomedical research.

What’s Next for Alumni of the BU-CMD?

Since 2012, eleven postdoctoral associates have completed their postdoctoral training at the BU-CMD, with the vast majority going on to pursue careers in the pharmaceutical industry or academic medicinal chemistry centers. Former BU-CMD postdoctoral associates include:

  • Dr. Paul Marcyk, Senior Scientist, AstraZeneca
  • Dr. Wenhan Zhang, Scientist, Amgen
  • Dr. David Huang, Scientist, Foghorn Therapeutics
  • Dr. Edith Nagy, Research Investigator at MD Anderson Cancer Center