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Umesh R. Desai, Ph.D.

Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Location:  Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, Suite 212
Phone: (804) 828-7328

Mailing Address

School of Pharmacy - Dept of Medicinal Chemistry
BioTech One, Suite 205
800 E. Leigh St.
P.O. Box 980540
Richmond, VA 23298-0540
Fax: (804) 827-3664

Area of Focus

  • Rational Design of Cardiovascular Drugs
  • Allosteric Activators of Antithrombin
  • Computational Studies on Heparin - Protein Interaction
  • Rational Design of Macromolecular Scaffolds as Inhibitors of Viral Infection
  • Allosteric Inhibitors of Coagulation Factors (IIa, Xa, IXa, XIa, VIIa)
  • Structure of Low Molecular Weight Heparins


  • B.S., Chemistry (M. S. University of Baroda, India, 1983)
  • M.S., Organic Chemistry (Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, 1985)
  • Ph.D., Organic Chemistry (Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, 1991)

Post-Graduate Training

  • Fellowship - Postdoctoral Training (University of Iowa – Iowa City, 1993)
  • Fellowship - Postdoctoral Trainint (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, 1994)

Academic Appointments/Professional Experience

  • (1998 - 2004) Assistant Profesor of Medicinal Chemsitry, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2004 - 2007) Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2007 - Present) Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • (2009 - 2014) Interim Director of Institute for Structural Biology and Drug Discovery,
  • (2014 - Present) Director of Institute for Structural Biology, Drug Discovery and Development,


PubMed Search
The publications search is performed on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed database. The search may be slow during high traffic hours, may return articles authored by another researcher with a similar name and may not always find all of a researcher's articles.

  • Books/Book Chapters
    • ‘Glycosaminoglycans – Chemistry and Biology’, a volume of Methods in Molecular Biology, Springer, NY (2014). Editor: Kuberan Balagurunathan, Hiroshi Nakato and Umesh R. Desai
    • Sankaranarayanan, N. V.; Sarkar, A.; Desai, U. R.; Mosier, P. D.* Designing ‘high-affinity, high-specificity’ glycosaminoglycan sequences through computerized modeling. Methods in Molecular Biology 2015, 1229, 289-314. (PMID: 25325961)
    • Al-Horani, R. A.; Karuturi, R.; Verespy, S. III; Desai, U. R.* Synthesis of glycosaminoglycan mimetics through sulfation of polyphenols. Methods in Molecular Biology 2015, 1229, 49-67. (PMID: 25325944)
    • Boothello, R. S.; Al-Horani, R. A.; Desai, U. R.* Glycosaminoglycan–protein interaction studies using fluorescence spectroscopy. Methods in Molecular Biology 2015, 1229, 335-353. (PMID: 25325964)
    • Liang, A.;* Desai, U. R. Studying glycosaminoglycan–protein interactions using capillary electrophoresis. Methods in Molecular Biology 2015, 1229, 355-375. (PMID: 25325965)
  • Patents
    • Desai, U. R.; Henry, B. L.; Liang, A.; Thakkar, J. N.; Mangrum, J. B.; Torres Filho, I.; Spiess, B. D.; Saluja, B.; Sakagami, M. Cinnamic acid-based oligomers and uses thereof – Divisional 1. United States Patent, US 8,613,909 issued December 23, 2013.
  • Recent Publications
    • Boothello, R. S.; Sarkar, A.; Tran, V.; Nguyen, T. K.; Sankaranarayanan, N. V.; Quintero, M.; Mehta, A. Y.; Alabbas, A.; Mencio, C.; Joice, J.; Kuberan, B.; Desai, U. R.* Chemoenzymatically prepared heparan sulfate containing rare 2-O-sulfonated glucuronic acid residues. ACS Chemical Biology 2015, 10, 1485–1494. (PMID: 25742429)
    • Al-Horani, R. A.; Boothello, R. S.; Desai, U. R.* Characterization of allosteric inhibition of factor XIa by sulfated pentagalloyl glucopyranosides. Thrombosis Research 2015, 136, 379–387. (PMID: 25935648) {Paper profiled by an accompanying editorial. Schmaier, A. Medically-induced hemophilia C to treat thrombosis. Thromb. Res. 2015, 136, 185–186.}
    • Sarkar, A.; Desai, U. R.* A simple method for discovering druggable protein–glycosaminoglycan systems. Elucidation of key principles from heparin/heparan sulfate binding proteins. PLoS One 2015, 10, e0141127. (PMID: 26488293)
    • Joseph, P. R. B.; Mosier, P. D.; Desai, U. R.; Rajarathnam, K.* Solution NMR characterization of chemokine CXCL8 monomer and dimer binding to glycosaminoglycans: Structural plasticity mediates differential binding interactions. Biochemical Journal 2015, 472, 121–133. (PMID: 26371375)
    • Mehta, A. Y.; Mohammed, B. M.; Thakkar, J. N.; Martin, E. J.; Brophy, D. F.; Gailani, D.; Desai, U. R.* Allosterism-based simultaneous, dual anticoagulant and antiplatelet action: allosteric inhibitor targeting the glycoprotein Iba-binding and heparin-binding site of thrombin. Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis 2016, 14, 828–838. (PMID: 26748875)
    • Al-Horani, R. A.; Desai, U. R. Factor XIa: a review of patent literature. Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Patents 2016, 26, 323–345. (PMID: 26881476)
    • Verespy, S. III; Mehta, A. Y.; Afosah, D.; Al-Horani, R. A.; Desai, U. R.* Allosteric partial inhibition of monomeric proteases. Sulfated coumarins induce regulation, not just inhibition, of thrombin. Scientific Reports 2016, 6, 24043. (PMID: 27053426)
    • Al-Horani, R. A.; Karuturi, R.; Lee, M.; Desai, U. R.* Allosteric inhibition of factor XIIIa. Non-saccharide glycosaminoglycan mimetics, but not glycosaminoglycans, exhibit promising inhibition profile. PLoS One 2016, 11, e0160189. (PMID: 27467511)
    • Mosier, P. D.; Chiang, M.-J.; Lin, Z.; Jin, Y.; Althufiari, B.; Musayev, F.; Safo, M.; Zhou, Q.; Xie, H.*; Desai, U. R.* Broad spectrum anti-influenza agents by inhibiting self-association of matrix protein 1. Scientific Reports 2016, 6, 32340. (PMID: 27573445)
    • Sepuru, K. M.; Nagarajan, B.; Desai, U. R.; Rajarathnam, K.* Molecular basis of chemokine CXCL5-glycosaminoglycan interactions. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2016, 291, 20539–20550. (PMID: 27471273)
    • Wood, J. P.; Baumann-Krueziger, L. M.; Desai, U. R.; Mast, A. E.* Blocking inhibition of prothrombinase by tissue factor pathway inhibitor alpha: A procoagulant property of heparins. British Journal of Hematology 2016, 175, 123–132. (PMID: 27301751)
    • Wang, A.; Sankaranarayanan, N. V.; Yanagishita, M.; Templeton, D.; Desai, U. R.; Sugahara, K.; Hascall, V.* Heparin interaction with a receptor on hyperglycemic dividing cells prevents intracellular hyaluronan synthesis and autophagy responses. Matrix Biology 2015, 48, 36–41. (PMID: 25892563)
    • Namachivayam, K.; Coffing, H. P.; Sankaranarayanan, N. V.; Jin, Y.; MohanKumar, K.; Frost, B. L.; Blanco, C. L.; Patel, A. L. Meier, P. P.; Garzon, S. A.; Desai, U. R.; Maheshwari, A.* Transforming growth factor-ß2 is sequestered in human milk by chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. American Journal of Physiology–Gastroenterology and Liver Physiology 2015, 309, G171–G180. (PMID: 26045614)
    • Wang, X.; Wang, Z.; Sidhu, P. S.; Desai, U. R.; Zhou, Q.* 6-Hydroxyflavone and derivatives exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity among mono-, di- and polyhydroxylated flavones in kidney mesangial cells. PLoS One 2015, 10, e0116409. (PMID: 25790236; PMCID: PMC4366162)
    • Al-Horani, R. A.;* Karuturi, R.; White, D. T.; Desai, U. R. Plasmin regulation through allosteric, sulfated, small molecules. Molecules 2015, 20, 608-625. (PMID: 25569517)