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Photo of Irina Gaisina

Irina Gaisina

Research Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences



833 South Wood Street, R. 497, Chicago, IL

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I have extensive experience in hit-to-lead and lead optimization medicinal chemistry and preclinical drug development. One of the compounds I invented, a Glycogen Synthase Kinase beta (GSK-3β) inhibitor 9-ING-41 (licensed to a biopharmaceutical company Actuate Therapeutics, Inc.), has been recently approved by FDA for use in human clinical trials, phase 1/2 study in patients with refractory hematologic malignancies or solid tumors ( Identifiers: NCT03678883, NCT04239092 and NCT04218071). I have also worked in the epigenetic area, having successfully developed a new class of deacetylase-6 (HDAC6) inhibitors exhibiting tripartite inhibition of HDAC6, inhibition of HIF-1 prolyl hydroxylase (PHD), and activation of Nrf2 for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases (two patents are licensed to Celgene Corporation). Beyond achievements in medicinal synthetic chemistry, my expertise includes drug database development for RTT therapy under an IRSF (International Rett Syndrome Foundation) initiative aimed to repurpose known drugs to facilitate drug development for this orphan disease. I created and managed a SMART (Selected Molecular Agents for Rett Therapy) Library of FDA-approved and experimental drugs that operate by diverse mechanisms (e.g. ampakines, growth hormone secretagogues, monoamine reuptake inhibitors, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, HDAC inhibitors, histone lysine methyltransferase inhibitors, BDNF mimetics and others).The SMART Library Initiative had been supported with the funds from IRSF’s win in the Pepsi Refresh Project. Since 2014, I have been working at UICentre on multiple drug discovery projects and lead the design, planning and execution of organic synthesis of novel small molecules. My current research is focused on the development of anti-infective agents.


PhD, Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Ufa, Russian Federation, 1994

Postgraduate Training:
Postdoc, Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles CNRS, France, 1999
Postdoc, Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles CNRS, France, 2002
Postdoc, Georgetown University, United States, 2003