Department of Chemistry
A headshot

Kevin Burgess
Rachal Chair in Chemistry

Department of Chemistry
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-3255

P: 979-845-4345
F: 979-845-8839

Researcher ID

Current Activities

Our work is focused on the design and synthesis of small molecules to bind to protein surfaces, in the context of two programs:

Design of Small Molecules To Perturb Protein-protein Interactions

We use novel strategies Exploring Key Orientations (EKO) that feature data mining to compare simulated preferred conformers of chemotypes we design with key features at protein-protein interfaces. Many chemotype candidates can be screened against one PPI, or one chemotype can be screened against all the PPI interfaces in the PDB. Virtual hit chemotypes are prepared in my lab, then tested against protein-protein interactions of biomedicinal interest using an array of biophysical and cellular assays.

Design of Small Molecules To Target Metastatic Cancer Cells

We design small molecules to target cell surface receptors that are selectively overexpressed in cancer cells. Much or our work has been focused on the TrkC receptor that is particularly important to metastatic breast cancer and melanoma. Going forwards we are interested in expanding the targets to include cell surface receptors that are overexpressed when cancer cells undergo aberrant epithelial to mesenchymal transitions (EMT) to produce circulating tumor cells and cancer stem cells. Much of this work involves design and synthesis of the small molecules for this targeting.

Educational Background

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin

PhD University of Cambridge, UK

Awards & Recognition

  • Humboldt Research Award (2016)
  • Pedler Award, Royal Society of Chemistry (2013)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (2013)
  • Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research (2010)
  • Rachal Chair at Texas A&M University (2005-)
  • Novartis International Lectureship (2002-3)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (1993-5)
  • NIH Research Career Development Award (1992-7)

Selected Publications

  • Novel Small Molecule Probes for Metastatic Melanoma, K. Burgess, A. Kamkaew, N. Fu, W. Cai, ACS Med. Chem. Lett., 2016, DOI: 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.6b00368.
  • Targeted PDT Agent Eradicates TrkC Expressing Tumors Via Photodynamic Therapy (PDT), C. S. Kue, A. Kamkaew, H. B. Lee, L. Y. Chung, L. V. Kiew, K. Burgess, Mol. Pharmaceutics, 2015, 12, 212-22. PMID: 25487316 (DOI: 1021/mp5005564)
  • Small Molecule Probes that Perturb A Protein-protein Interface In Antithrombin, D. Xin, A. Holzenburg, K. Burgess, Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 4914-4921. DOI: 10.1039/c4sc01295j.
  • A Multi-faced Secondary Structure Mimics Based on Piperidine-Piperidinones, D. Xin, L. M. Perez, T. R. Ioerger, K. Burgess, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 2014, 53, 3594-3498. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201400927, PMC4019009.
  • Exploring Key Orientations at Protein-Protein Interfaces with Small Molecule Probes, E. Ko, A. Raghuraman, L. M. Perez, T. R. Ioerger, K. Burgess, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 167-173. (DOI 10.1021/ja3067258) NIHMSID 431835. PMCID: PMC3551583.