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Surendra Karavadhi, Ph.D.

Research Scientist (Medicinal Chemistry)

Division of Preclinical Innovation

Early Translation Branch (Contractor)

Surendra Karavadhi, Ph.D.


Surendra Karavadhi is a medicinal chemistry research scientist in the Early Translation Branch within NCATS’ Division of Preclinical Innovation. He is a part of a multidisciplinary group of scientists engaged in preclinical hit-to-lead optimization to develop probes and candidates for small-molecule therapeutics from high-throughput screening hits.

Karavadhi received his doctorate in organic chemistry from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, where he worked with Rama Rao K. S., Ph.D., in the area of biomimetic organic synthesis and developed a wide array of synthetic methodologies using cyclodextrin as a catalyst in aqueous media. Karavadhi’s postdoctoral research with professor Elias James “E.J.” Corey’s laboratory at Harvard University involved total synthesis of natural products, including triterpene, lupeol and germanicol. He also accomplished a highly enantioselective proton-initiated polycyclization of polyenes, which allowed concise asymmetric total syntheses of (+)-dysideapalaunic acid, dehydroabietic acid, podocarpic acid and pseudopterosins. Additionally, he developed a powerful new method to construct complex chiral polycycles via an Indium (III)-catalyzed cationic cascade.

Research Topics

Karavadhi’s research focuses on chemistry-based approaches to propel the development of new therapeutics. Specifically, he is interested in the chemical biology of orphan diseases, medicinal chemistry and the development of next-generation synthetic methodologies. Karavadhi currently is engaged in developing preclinical small-molecule candidates for the following targets:

  • Mutant Isocitrate Dehydrogenase 1 (mIDH1)
  • Human Galactokinase (GALK)
  • PI5P4K
  • Caspase-2
  • PfHK

Selected Publications

  1. Diiodoindium(III) Cation, InI2+, a Potent Yneophile. Generation and Application to Cationic Cyclization by Selective π-Activation of C≡C
  2. Useful catalytic enantioselective cationic double annulation reactions initiated at an internal π-bond. Method and applications
  3. Highly enantioselective proton-initiated polycyclization of polyenes
  4. A powerful new construction of complex chiral polycycles by an Indium(III)-catalyzed cationic cascade
  5. A short enantioselective total synthesis of the fundamental pentacyclic triterpene lupeol