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The Boris Family Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory is a state of the art synthetic chemistry research facility at McMaster University, Canada.  Its establishment in 2019 was made possible by a generous philanthropic donation to McMaster by the Marta and Owen Boris Foundation. 


The "Boris Lab" is home to a team of research staff scientists, graduate students, and undergraduates with expertise in synthetic and medicinal chemistry.  The team is led by Dr. Jakob Magolan who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and the inaugural holder of Boris Family Endowed Chair of Drug Discovery at McMaster.


The goal of the Boris Family Medicinal Chemistry Laboratory is to pursue strategic interdisciplinary research partnerships with biomedical scientists at McMaster to enable the discovery and development of new small molecule drug candidates.  We collaborate with colleagues in multiple therapeutic areas to develop new molecules with the potential to become innovative medicines that improve the health and lives of Canadians and people worldwide.

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As members of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, our chemists are immersed in a rich culture of innovation and discovery in health research.  We are fortunate to have opportunities to work with many brilliant biomedical scientists and benefit from the vast research infrastructure and resources associated with McMaster's various Biomedical Research Institutes and Centres including the David Braley Centre for Antibiotic Discovery (DBCAD) and the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research (IIDR)

Click here to learn more about our drug discovery projects.

February 2022 - Cardiovascular Health


Medical News Today: "How does caffeine reduce heart disease risk?"

Hamilton Spectator: "Hamilton scientists discover why coffee is good for your heart"

Sci-News: "Study: Caffeine Impacts Expression of Genes Known to Mediate Cardiovascular Risk"

Our drug discovery efforts in the area of cardiovascular health, led by our colleague Prof. Richard Austin and his team, have resulted in an important research article published in Nature Communications titled "Caffeine blocks SREBP2-induced hepatic PCSK9 expression to enhance LDLR-mediated cholesterol clearance".  This research has also led to the founding of a new McMaster spin-off company called Systemic Therapeutics,

May 2021 - Oncology


Y. D. Benoit et al. "Targeting SUMOylation dependency in human cancer stem cells through a unique SAE2 motif revealed by chemical genomics"
Cell Chemical Biology 2021, 28, 1-13.

Our laboratory collaborates extensively with Prof. Mick Bhatia and his team on the discovery of novel anti-cancer drug candidates.  We disclosed some of this research with an article in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.  The article describes the discovery of a natural molecule, isolated for the first time from a bacterium, that exhibits potent anti-cancer activity by binding to SAE2 and thereby inhibiting a cellular process called SUMOylation.

February 2020 - Infectious Diseases

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The Guardian: "Cannabis compound could be weapon in fight against superbugs"

New York Post: "Marijuana could fight drug-resistant superbugs like MRSA, study stays"
CBC News: "McMaster researchers find cannabis has antibiotic potential"

Our laboratory contributed to an impactful research study led by Prof. Eric Brown and his team that was disclosed as an article titled "Uncovering the hidden antibiotic potential of Cannabis" in the journal ACS Infectious Diseases.  The article describes extensive experimental data indicating antimicrobial activity of several cannabinoid molecules, especially that of a cannabinoid called cannabigerol or "CBG."

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