Affiliation: NYU Abu Dhabi
Education: MS, Medicinal Chemistry, PhD, Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Siena
Davide Deodato obtained an M.S. (with Honor) in medicinal chemistry from the University of Siena in Italy with a thesis regarding the design and synthesis of benzofurazan derivatives with anti-influenza properties. He then received a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the same institution in 2016 under the supervision of Prof. Maurizio Botta. During his graduate studies, Davide was involved in several drug discovery projects targeting infectious disease: bacterial and fungal infections, influenza, and tuberculosis. He joined the Dore Laboratory in 2016, where he is currently working on the development of photoactivatable tools and on the identification of coronavirus inhibitors.
Photoactivatable compounds as chemical biology tools
Davide’s research focuses on the development of efficient photoactivatable protecting groups (PPGs) to be used to cage biological effectors. Photocaged compounds are extensively used by cell biologists and neuroscientists since they enable the manipulation of physiological processes with spatio-temporal precision. Davide is applying this strategy for the photoactivation of a number of biological effectors, including neurotransmitters, antisense reagents, and pharmaceuticals.
Discovery of SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors targeting the main protease
The main protease of coronaviruses is an excellent target for developing antivirals since it plays an essential role in viral replication and is well conserved among the various strains. Most of the inhibitors identified so far are peptide-like compounds acting as covalent inhibitors. This strategy is generally not ideal for drug development owing to potential toxicity issues, proteolytic degradation, and limited bioavailability. The focus of Davide’s research is the identification of novel inhibitors having a drug-like structure and a non-covalent mechanism of action. This work uses an integrated medicinal chemistry approach combining in silico molecular modeling, organic synthesis, molecular biology, and biochemical assays.