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Sabesan Yoganathan

Assistant Professor
Pharmaceutical Sciences
PhD, Chemistry, University of Alberta
BS, Chemistry (Biological Specialization), McMaster University
Sabesan Yoganathan joined St. John's University as an Assistant Professor in the area of medicinal chemistry in September 2014. His educational and research training is in the area of medicinal chemistry, organic chemistry, microbiology and natural products drug discovery. Sabesan completed his postdoctoral tenure at Yale University with Professor Scott Miller, where he investigated peptide-based catalysis for site-selective modification of polyfunctional medicinal natural products, including the clinically used antibiotics daptomycin and vancomycin. Peptide-based catalysis is an emerging area of research that enables medicinal chemists to identify novel analogs of architecturally complex molecules as promising drug leads. Sabesan grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he attended McMaster University and graduated with a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in chemistry, specializing in biological chemistry. He was an NSERC undergraduate research fellow in the laboratory of Professor John Valliant. In 2005, he moved to Western Canada to pursue his Ph.D. degree at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Professor John Vederas. His doctoral research focused on the development of chemical approaches to generate bioactive analogs of ‘lantibiotics’, which are a class of structurally unique peptide antibiotics. The Yoganathan lab in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John's University provides an interdisciplinary teaching and research environment for both graduate and undergraduate students at the interface of chemistry and biology.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Yoganathan teaches introductory and advanced courses (PHS 3508, PHR 5106) to the Pharm.D. students, and advanced graduate courses in the medicinal chemistry division. He also mentors both graduate and undergraduate students in his laboratory.

Research Interests

The research in the Yoganathan lab focuses on developing chemical and biological approaches to discover novel medicinal natural products and their analogs as potential drug leads to target infectious diseases, and cancer.

Courses Taught


Select Publications

Journal Articles

Yang, C., Schanne, F. A., Yoganathan, S., and Stephani, R. A. (2016). Synthesis of N-1', N-3'-disubstituted spirohydantoins and their anticonvulsant activities in pilocarpine model of temporal lobe epilepsy.. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters. vol. 26, pp. 2912-4.

Yoganathan, S., and Miller, S. J. (2015). Structure diversification of vancomycin through peptide-catalyzed, site-selective lipidation: a catalysis-based approach to combat glycopeptide-resistant pathogens.. In: Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Journal of medicinal chemistry. vol. 58, pp. 2367-77.

Yoganathan, S., Yin, N., He, Y., Mesleh, M. F., Gu, Y. G., and Miller, S. J. (2013). An efficient chemical synthesis of carboxylate-isostere analogs of daptomycin.. Organic & biomolecular chemistry. vol. 11, pp. 4680-5.

Yoganathan, S., and Miller, S. J. (2013). N-Methylimidazole-catalyzed synthesis of carbamates from hydroxamic acids via the Lossen rearrangement.. Organic letters. vol. 15, pp. 602-5.

Sit, C. S., Yoganathan, S., and Vederas, J. C. (2011). Biosynthesis of aminovinyl-cysteine-containing peptides and its application in the production of potential drug candidates.. Accounts of chemical research. vol. 44, pp. 261-8.

Yoganathan, S., Sit, C. S., and Vederas, J. C. (2011). Chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of gallidermin-siderophore conjugates.. Organic & biomolecular chemistry. vol. 9, pp. 2133-41.

Martin-Visscher, L. A., Yoganathan, S., Sit, C. S., Lohans, C. T., and Vederas, J. C. (2011). The activity of bacteriocins from Carnobacterium maltaromaticum UAL307 against gram-negative bacteria in combination with EDTA treatment.. FEMS microbiology letters. vol. 317, pp. 152-9.

Yoganathan, S. (2010). Nonprotein L-Amino Acids. Comprehensive Natural Products II. vol. 5,

Yoganathan, S., and Vederas, J. C. (2008). Fracturing rings to understand lantibiotics.. Chemistry & biology. vol. 15, pp. 999-1001.

Guenther, K. J., Yoganathan, S., Garofalo, R., Kawabata, T., Strack, T., Labiris, R., Dolovich, M., Chirakal, R., and Valliant, J. F. (2006). Synthesis and in vitro evaluation of 18F- and 19F-labeled insulin: a new radiotracer for PET-based molecular imaging studies.. Journal of medicinal chemistry. vol. 49, pp. 1466-74.

Medicinal Chemistry
Natural Product Drug Discovery
Antibacterial Drugs
Anticancer Drugs
Chemical Synthesis