Virginia Tech® home

Webster Santos

  • Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow of Drug Discovery
Webster Santos
203 Davidson Hall

Research Interests

We are a chemistry lab who apply organic synthesis in medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. Central to our work is synthetic methods development and discovery of molecules that improve human health. Currently, our work is aimed at the following:

  • Development of methods that install boron or silicon into carbon stereoselectively
  • Development of medium-sized branched peptides to target RNA structures associated with HIV
  • Drug discovery, specifically sphingosine kinase and S1P transporters as drug targets, and mitochondrial uncouplers
  1. Grams, R.J.; Lawal, M.M.; Szwetkowski, C.; Foster, D.; Rosenblum, C.A.; Slebodnick, C.; Welborn, V.V.; Santos, W.L. Organocatalytic trans Semireduction of Primary and Secondary Propiolamides: Substrate Scope and Mechanistic Studies. Adv. Syn. Cat. 2022364, 172-178. DOI 10.1002/adsc.202101020 
  2. Congdon, M.; Fritzemeier, R.G.;  Kharel, Y.; Brown, A.M.;  Serbulea, V.; Bevan, D.R.;  Lynch, K.R.; Santos, W.L. Probing the Substitution Pattern of Indole-Based Scaffold Reveal Potent and Selective Sphingosine Kinase 2 Inhibitors. Eur. J. Med. Chem. 2021, 212, 113121.
  3. Alexopoulos, S.J.; Chen, S.; Brandon, A.E.; Salamoun, J.M.; Byrne, F.L.; Garcia, C.J.; Beretta, M.; Olzomer, E.M.; Shah, D.P.; Philp, A.M.; Hargett, S.R.; Lawrence, R.T.; Lee, B.; Sligar, J.; Carrive, P.; Tucker, S.P.; Philp, A.; Lackner, C.; Turner, N.; Cooney, G.J.; Santos, W.L.; Hoehn, K.L. Mitochondrial uncoupler BAM15 reverses diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance in mice, Nat. Commun202011, 2397.
  4. Fritzemeier, R.G.; Nekvinda, J.; Vogels, C.M.; Rosenblum, C.A.; Slebodnick, C.; Westcott, S.A.; Santos, W.L. Organocatalytic trans Phosphinoboration of Internal Alkynes, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed202059, 14358 –14362.
  5. Peck, C.; Nekvinda, J.; Santos, W.L. Diboration of 3-Substituted Propargylic Alcohols using a Bimetallic Catalyst System: Access to (Z)-Allyl, Vinyldiboronates. Chem. Commun202056, 10313-10316.
  6. Salamoun, J.M.; Garcia, C.J.; Hargett, S.R.; Murray, J.; Chen, S-Y; Beretta, M.; Alexopoulos, S.J.;  Shah, D.;  Olzomer, E.M.; Tucker, S.P.; Hoehn, K.L. and Santos, W.L. 6-Amino-[1,2,5]oxadiazolo[3,4-b]pyrazin-5-ol Derivatives as Efficacious Mitochondrial Uncouplers in STAM Mouse Model of Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis,  J. Med. Chem. 202063, 6203-6224.
  • Co-Founder, Flux Therapeutics, LLC., 2018
  • Editorial Board, Medicinal Research Reviews, 2017
  • Co-Founder, Continuum Biosciences, Inc., 2017
  • Editorial Advisor Board, Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, 2015–present
  • Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow of Drug Discovery, 2015, 2017
  • Innovators Award, Virginia Tech, 2014
  • John C. Schug Research Award, 2014
  • ACS Young Academic Investigator, 2012
  • Molecular Biosystems Emerging Investigator, 2011
  • Co-founder, SphynKx Therapeutics, 2010
  • Chemical Communications Emerging Investigator, 2010
  • Blackwood Junior Faculty Fellow of Life Sciences, 2010–2014
  • Molecular BioSystems Emerging Investigator, 2009
  • Ruth Kirstein NRSA Fellow, 2003–2006
  • B.S. University of Virginia, 1997
  • Ph.D. University of Virginia, 2002
  • NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 2002–2006