Staff Profile: Diane Luci

Diane K. Luci, M.S.
Diane K. Luci, M.S.

Research Scientist

Division of Preclinical Innovation
Chemistry Technology (Contractor)

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Diane K. Luci


Diane K. Luci joined NIH in 2010 and now works at NCATS as a medicinal chemist in the optimization of small molecules that are identified by the high-throughput screening campaigns. She has worked on projects in oncology, parasitic diseases and metabolic diseases. Luci received a Master’s in organic chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied with Peter Wipf, Ph.D., on the synthesis of analogues for the study of CDC25 dual-specific phosphatase. In 1999, Luci joined Johnson & Johnson, where her work included projects for ketohexokinase, αvβ3 and urotensin II inhibitors. In 2011, she received the Technical Achievement Award in Organic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society in recognition of this work.

Research Topics

Luci enjoys working at NCATS because of the collaborative research environment. She also enjoys forming productive and long-lasting collaborations with researchers from academia, government and pharmaceutical companies. Her research interests include medicinal chemistry, synthetic methodology, and rare and neglected diseases research. Luci focuses on the medicinal chemistry optimization of small molecules to demonstrate activity in proof-of-concept animal models. The ultimate goal is to facilitate advancement of these compounds into preclinical and Investigational New Drug–enabling studies.

Since joining NCATS, Luci has helped develop novel and well-characterized inhibitors for a variety of targets, including the following:

  • Lipoxygenases (12-LOX)
  • Deubiquitinases (USP1/UAF1, other USPs in progress)
  • DNA repair enzymes (APE1)
  • Parasitic targets (cruzain, AMA1-RON2)

Selected Publications

  1. Irreversible inhibition of cytosolic thioredoxin reductase 1 as a mechanistic basis for anticancer therapy
  2. Discovery and Optimization of Potent, Cell-Active Pyrazole-Based Inhibitors of Lactate Dehydrogenase (LDH)
  3. First Selective 12-LOX Inhibitor, ML355, Impairs Thrombus Formation and Vessel Occlusion In Vivo With Minimal Effects on Hemostasis
  4. A High-Throughput Screen Identifies 2,9-Diazaspiro[5.5]Undecanes as Inducers of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response with Cytotoxic Activity in 3D Glioma Cell Models
  5. Synthesis and structure-activity relationship studies of N-benzyl-2-phenylpyrimidin-4-amine derivatives as potent USP1/UAF1 deubiquitinase inhibitors with anticancer activity against nonsmall cell lung cancer