Robert J DeVita, PhD
- PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences
Research Topics:Addiction, Brain Imaging, Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes, Drug Design and Discovery, Infectious Disease, Inflammation, Neuroscience, Obesity, Positron Emission Tomography, Protein Structure/Function, Receptors, Transporters
Dr. DeVita is a Professor in the Department of Pharmacological Sciences and the Director of the Medicinal Chemistry Core of the Drug Discovery Institute (DDI). 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).
Multi-Disciplinary Training AreaPharmacology and Therapeutics Discovery [PTD]
BA, Rutgers College
MS, University of Rochester
PhD, University of Rochester
Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Geneva
U.S. National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
Elon Huntington Hooker Fellow
American Chemical Society Fellow
Sherman Clarke Fellow
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.