Mingji Dai

Mingji Dai Profile Picture

Assistant Professor
B.S., Peking University, 2002; Ph.D. (with distinction), Columbia University, 2009 (Prof. Samuel Danishefsky); Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University and the Broad Institute, 2009-2012 (Prof. Stuart Schreiber)

Contact Info:


Training Group(s):
Chemical Biology

PULSe Contributor - not currently hosting students for laboratory rotations or recruiting students in the laboratory

Current Research Interests:

Our research focus on innovating in both the strategy and methodology of chemical synthesis, and applying them to solve problems of biological and medical importance and ultimately impact human health. We work on both natural and unnatural molecules with particular potential for the treatment of cancer, CNS disorders and infectious diseases. We view the completion of a synthesis as the beginning of a larger and deeper scholarly inquiry. It would enable us to profile the biology of the selected natural products and rationally designed analogs, decipher their mechanism of actions/cellular targets, and optimize the lead compounds into useful chemical probe and novel therapeutics development. We also work on creating unconventional and diverse small molecule libraries with the aim to target challenging but important disease targets, such as protein-protein interactions and transcription factors. 

Selected Publications:

Adams, D. J.; Dai, M. J.;  Pellegrino, G.; Wagner, B. K.; Stern, A. M.; Shamji, A. F.; Schreiber, S. L. “Synthesis, Cellular Evaluation, and Mechanism of Action of Piperlongumine Analogs” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2012, 109, 15115-20. (*These authors contributed equally.)

Dai, M. J.; Danishefsky, S. J. “A concise synthesis of the cortistatin core” Tetrahedron lett. 2008, 49, 6610-2.

Dai, M. J.; Wang, Z.; Danishefsky, S. J. “A novel a,ß-unsaturated nitrone-aryne [3+2] cycloaddition and its application in the synthesis of the cortistatin core” Tetrahedron Lett. 2008, 49, 6613-6.

Dai, M. J.; Danishefsky, S. J. “The total synthesis of spirotenuipesines A and B” J. Am. Chem. Soc.2007, 129, 3498-9.

Dai, M. J.; Sarlah, D.; Yu, M. L.; Danishefsky, S. J.; Jones, G. J.; Houk, K. N. “Highly selective Diels-Alder reactions of directly connected enyne dienophiles” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 645-57.

Dai, M. J.; Liang, B.; Wang, C. H.; Chen. J. H.; Yang, Z. “Synthesis of a novel C2-symmetric  thiourea and its application in the Pd-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions with arenediazonium salts under aerobic conditions” Org. Lett.2004, 6, 221-4.

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