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Robert DeVita

  • RESEARCH PROFESSOR Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics
  • RESEARCH PROFESSOR Structural and Chemical Biology
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  • Ph.D., University of Rochester

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Geneva

  • M.S., University of Rochester

  • B.A., Rutgers College


    Dr. DeVita is a Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Systems Therapeutics and Structural and Chemical Biology and the Director of the Medicinal Chemistry Core of the Experimental Therapeutics Institute (ETI).  Prior to joining Mt Sinai, Dr. DeVita gained expertise managing multi-disciplinary teams that delivered on key program objectives for complex molecular targets.  He has over 25 years working in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry, including at Merck Research Laboratories where he was a director of medicinal chemistry. His work has spanned the drug discovery paradigm from target ID to PII, including leadership of drug development teams. In collaboration with multi-disciplinary teams, he has identified multiple development candidates including two PII clinical compounds for CNS and CV targets.  Dr. DeVita has drug discovery experience within a broad range of therapeutic areas including: CNS, pain/inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, obesity, endocrinology, urology and oncology.  He has developed, in collaboration with his teams, orally active, brain penetrant, peripheral and GI tract drug targeting strategies.   He also has experience in the discovery and development of PET imaging agents and translational biomarkers for CNS targets.

    Dr. DeVita has been an active member of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society serving on the Long Range Planning Committee and on the organizing committees for National and International Medicinal Chemistry Meetings. He has served as an Ad Hoc Reviewer for the National Institutes of Health Study Section for Synthetic and Biological Chemistry (Section B).


  • 1989 - 1990
    U.S. National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
    U.S. National Science Foundation

  • 1988 - 1989
    Elon Huntington Hooker Fellow
    University of Rochester

  • 1988 - 1989
    American Chemical Society Fellow
    American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry

  • 1985 - 1989
    Sherman Clarke Fellow
    University of Rochester


Drug discovery target identification and validation to meet the needs of patients has become even more challenging in spite of the huge amounts of genomic and metabolomic data available today.  Close collaboration between biological and chemical sciences is vital to determine biological mechanisms of disease and to discover approaches to positively impact the disease state through intervention using molecular therapeutics. The research program of our laboratory is to develop novel chemical and biological tools in collaboration with our colleagues across the wide variety of therapeutic areas of interest to the Mount Sinai Research Community.  Targets meeting sufficient criteria of validation have the opportunity to enter into the drug discovery portfolio of the Experimental Therapeutics Institute. 

The DeVita Laboratory supports many drug discovery and development activities including:

-      evaluation of high throughput and virtual screens

-      hit validation and follow-up

-      lead identification

-     chemical tools for in vivo studies in preclinical animal models of disease

-  lead optimization with the eventual goal of  identification of candidates for clinical studies. 

In addition, an important focus of the laboratory is to develop key chemical and biochemical tools necessary to create translational and target engagement biomarkers, including imaging agents, to further understand the impact on disease states and underlying biology to effectively intervene in the designated disease pathway. 

The laboratory works toward the identification of novel chemical matter by developing new chemical processes and syntheses in the areas of heterocyclic chemistry and carbon-carbon bond forming reactions to access unexploited chemical space.


Jiang J, Bunda JL, Doss GA, Chicchi GG, Kurtz MM, Tsao KL, Tong X, Zheng S, Upthagrove A, Samuel K, Tschirret-Guth R, Kumar S, Wheeldon A, Carlson EJ, Hargreaves R, Burns D, Hamill T, Ryan C, Krause SM, Eng W, DeVita RJ, Mills SG. Potent, brain-penetrant, hydroisoindoline-based human neurokinin-1 receptor antagonists. Journal of medicinal chemistry 2009 May; 52(9).

McMasters DR, Garcia-Calvo M, Maiorov V, McCann ME, Meurer RD, Bull HG, Lisnock J, Howell KL, Devita RJ. Spiroimidazolidinone NPC1L1 inhibitors. 1: Discovery by 3D-similarity-based virtual screening. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2009 Jun; 19(11).

Simeone JP, Braun MP, Leone JF, Lin P, DeVita RJ, Garcia-Calvo M, Bull HG, Lisnock J, Dean DC. Multiple strategies for the preparation of a sulfur-35 labeled NPC1L1 radioligand. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2009 Sep; 19(17).

Ramu A, Ramu N, Rosario LM. Circumvention of multidrug-resistance in P388 cells is associated with a rise in the cellular content of phosphatidylcholine. Biochemical pharmacology 1991 May; 41(10).

Morriello GJ, Mills SG, Johnson T, Reibarkh M, Chicchi G, DeMartino J, Kurtz M, Davies P, Tsao KL, Zheng S, Tong X, Carlson E, Townson K, Tattersall FD, Wheeldon A, Boyce S, Collinson N, Rupniak N, Moore S, DeVita RJ. Substituted fused bicyclic pyrrolizinones as potent, orally bioavailable hNK1 antagonists. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2010 Mar; 20(6).

Morriello GJ, Chicchi G, Johnson T, Mills SG, Demartino J, Kurtz M, Tsao KL, Zheng S, Tong X, Carlson E, Townson K, Wheeldon A, Boyce S, Collinson N, Rupniak N, Devita RJ. Fused tricyclic pyrrolizinones that exhibit pseudo-irreversible blockade of the NK1 receptor. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2010 Oct; 20(19).

Howell KL, DeVita RJ, Garcia-Calvo M, Meurer RD, Lisnock J, Bull HG, McMasters DR, McCann ME, Mills SG. Spiroimidazolidinone NPC1L1 inhibitors. Part 2: structure-activity studies and in vivo efficacy. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 2010 Dec; 20(23).

McLaren DG, He T, Wang SP, Mendoza V, Rosa R, Gagen K, Bhat G, Herath K, Miller PL, Stribling S, Taggart A, Imbriglio J, Liu J, Chen D, Pinto S, Balkovec JM, Devita RJ, Marsh DJ, Castro-Perez JM, Strack A, Johns DG, Previs SF, Hubbard BK, Roddy TP. The use of stable-isotopically labeled oleic acid to interrogate lipid assembly in vivo: assessing pharmacological effects in preclinical species. Journal of lipid research 2011 Jun; 52(6).

Kassick AJ, Jiang J, Bunda J, Wilson D, Bao J, Lu H, Lin P, Ball RG, Doss GA, Tong X, Tsao KL, Wang H, Chicchi G, Karanam B, Tschirret-Guth R, Samuel K, Hora DF, Kumar S, Madeira M, Eng W, Hargreaves R, Purcell M, Gantert L, Cook J, DeVita RJ, Mills SG. 2-[(3aR,4R,5S,7aS)-5-{(1S)-1-[3,5-bis(trifluoromethyl)phenyl]-2-hydroxyethoxy}-4-(2-methylphenyl)octahydro-2H-isoindol-2-yl]-1,3-oxazol-4(5H)-one: a potent human NK1 receptor antagonist with multiple clearance pathways. Journal of medicinal chemistry 2013 Jul; 56(14).

DeVita RJ, Pinto S. Current status of the research and development of diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 1 (DGAT1) inhibitors. Journal of medicinal chemistry 2013 Dec; 56(24).

Industry Relationships

Physicians and scientists on the faculty of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai often interact with pharmaceutical, device and biotechnology companies to improve patient care, develop new therapies and achieve scientific breakthroughs. In order to promote an ethical and transparent environment for conducting research, providing clinical care and teaching, Mount Sinai requires that salaried faculty inform the School of their relationships with such companies.

Below are financial relationships with industry reported by Dr. DeVita during 2015 and/or 2016. Please note that this information may differ from information posted on corporate sites due to timing or classification differences.


  • Mitokinin,¬†LLC

Mount Sinai's faculty policies relating to faculty collaboration with industry are posted on our website. Patients may wish to ask their physician about the activities they perform for companies.

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Icahn (East) Building Floor 12 Room 75A
1425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029

Tel: 212-659-5542


Icahn (East) Building Floor 12 Room 75A
1425 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10029