Vijay Gokhale

Research Interests

My primary area of research is medicinal chemistry and computational chemistry and their application in the design and development of therapeutic agents. I have 12 years experience in computational and medicinal chemistry. My research expertise focuses on the exploration of new and validated biological targets for the design and development of new chemical entities as drugs for the benefit of patients. During my career at the University of Arizona first as a post-doctoral scholar and then, as an assistant research scientist, I have been involved in the application of structure-based design, virtual screening, docking and pharmacophore development methods for identifying inhibitors of protein kinases (RAF, PLK4 and other kinase targets), pleckstrin homology domains (AKT1 and PDK1) and other cancer targets including secondary DNA structures and transcription factors. Recently, I developed virtual screening (VS) protocols using drug-like properties and similarity based filters for compound libraries increasing the efficiency and success rate of VS results. I am the director of computational chemistry at the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Drug discovery and Development Center in Oro Valley. I have developed enumeration protocols for in-house compound libraries and compound management. I am also a team leader for several medicinal chemistry projects targeting protein kinases for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. My background in the medicinal and synthetic organic chemistry gives me an added advantage since it is of paramount importance to design synthetically tractable compounds. In addition to my experience in computational techniques, I was also involved in the design and development of small molecules targeting transcriptional regulation of oncogenes. As a part of this effort, I was group leader of chemist and biologist involved in moving potential drug molecules through various bioassays starting from ex-vivo systems to mouse xenograft models. I am also a founding team member of Tetragene - a company involved in the development of small molecules targeting of G-quadruplex and i-motif structures.