Dr. Alexandros Makriyannis joined Northeastern University in 2005 as the George D. Behrakis Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery. He is also Professor of both Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Prior to these appointments, he maintained a highly successful research and teaching program in Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut where he was a Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Drug Discovery.
Since the early stages of his career Dr. Makriyannis has been involved in developing novel methods for target-based drug discovery while also being a practitioner of the field by inventing novel compounds as probes or potential medications. Through his highly creative multidisciplinary work encompassing both chemistry and biology, Dr. Makriyannis has been a pioneer in chemical biology even before this designation was coined. More recently, he has developed a novel multidisciplinary approach for studying drug interactions with membrane protein targets which he has named Ligand Assisted Protein Structure. This unique multidisciplinary approach combines the use of covalent ligands molecular biology and mass spectrometry. It has extensive applications in identifying the drug pharmacophores involved in protein target recognition and activation.
Dr. Makriyannis has also been very inventive and highly prolific. Many of his compounds with the characteristic AM designation are among the most popular pharmacological cannabinergic probes used by the scientific community. In parallel, his work in drug discovery has generated proprietary drug candidates selectively targeting direct and indirect pharmacotherapeutic modulation of cannabinoid signaling. His laboratory has thus produced the first CB2 agonists as drug candidates for neuropathic pain, novel successful FAAH inhibitors for neuroprotection and the first CB1 neutral antagonists which are in late preclinical development for the treatment of obesity and metabolic disorders.
Dr. Makriyannis received the 2012 Award in Medicinal Chemistry at the 33rd National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium held at the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
In 2012 he was named to the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.