Ganesha Rai joined NIH in 2006 as a postdoctoral fellow and has continued on at NCATS as a research scientist on the team led by Juan Marugan, Ph.D. Rai develops small molecule tools for many disease-relevant biological targets. He received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Mangalore University in India. He then conducted postdoctoral research at Seoul National University, where he designed small molecules capable of detecting beta-amyloid plaques in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.
Rai’s research focuses on developing small molecule tools to modulate biological targets and validating these targets as potential therapeutic opportunities for various diseases, including rare and neglected illnesses. Rai advances validated hits into attractive chemical leads and, when possible, eventually into therapeutics. Rai has optimized first-in-class small molecule inhibitors for disease-relevant enzymes, such as 12-lipoxygenase, 15-lipoxygenase, Ape1, the epigenetic target JMJD2 and the novel antibacterial target PPTase. Discovery of these well-characterized drug-like molecules has enabled Rai to interrogate these enzymes as novel therapeutic targets. Rai has developed probes in the following areas:
- Cancer (LDHA, Ape1, FOXM1, NOX2)
- Epigenetics ( JMJD2A-E, JARID)
- Diabetes and stroke (12-LO, 15-LO)
- Infectious diseases/agents (schistosomiasis, malaria, hookworm and antibacterials)