Jianfeng Cai, PhD

Where You Are:
Jianfeng Cai, PhD

Office  (813) 974-9506

Education And Training
  • Fellow, Yale University, 2009 - Bioorganic Chemistry
  • PhD, Washington University of St. Louis, 2006 - Bioorganic Chemistry


The research in our laboratory ia focused on the expansion of interdisciplinary research at the interface of chemistry and biology to discover novel peptidomimetics and other small molecules that modulate protein-protein interactions involved in critical cellular processes.  Understanding how these compounds interact with proteins will help to reveal mechanisms governing cell activities.  We are particularly interested in developing compounds that lead to the design of novel therapeutics potentially targeting cancer, HIV, and Alzheimer's disease, etc.

  • Teng P, Zhang X, Wu H, Qiao Q, Sebti SM, Cai J. Identification of novel inhibitors that disrupt STAT3-DNA interaction from a γ-AApeptide OBOC combinatorial library. Chem Commun (Camb). 2014 Aug;50(63):8739-8742. Pubmedid: 24964402.
  • Wu H, Li Y, Bai G, Niu Y, Qiao Q, Tipton JD, Cao C, Cai J. γ-AApeptide-based small-molecule ligands that inhibit Aβ aggregation. Chem Commun (Camb). 2014 May;50(40):5206-5208. Pubmedid: 24158240.
  • Lin X, Bai G, Lin L, Wu H, Cai J, Ugen KE, Cao C. Vaccination induced changes in pro-inflammatory cytokine levels as an early putative biomarker for cognitive improvement in a transgenic mouse model for Alzheimer disease. Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014 Apr;10(7). Pubmedid: 24751897.
  • Niu Y, Wu H, Li Y, Hu Y, Padhee S, Li Q, Cao C, Cai J. AApeptides as a new class of antimicrobial agents. Org Biomol Chem. 2013 Jun;11(26):4283-4290. Pubmedid: 23722277.
  • Wu H, Teng P, Niu Y, Li Q, Cai J. Polymyxin derivatives: a patent evaluation (WO2012168820). Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2013 Jun;23(8):1075-1081. Pubmedid: 23806121.
  • Li Y, Wu H, Niu Y, Hu Y, Cao C, Cai J. Development of RNA Aptamer-Based Therapeutic Agents. Curr Med Chem. 2013 Jun. Pubmedid: 23745560.
  • Cai J, Yi Z, Lu W, Fang Y, Zhang C. Crosstalk between 5-HT2cR and PTEN signaling pathway in atypical antipsychotic-induced metabolic syndrome and cognitive dysfunction. Med Hypotheses. 2013 Apr;80(4):486-489. Pubmedid: 23375407.
  • Niu Y, Hu Y, Wu H, Cai J. Synthesis of AApeptides. Methods Mol Biol. 2013;1081:35-46. Pubmedid: 24014432.
  • Niu Y, Wang RE, Wu H, Cai J. Recent development of small antimicrobial peptidomimetics. Future Med Chem. 2012 Sep;4(14):1853-1862. Pubmedid: 23043481.
  • Hu Y, Amin MN, Padhee S, Wang RE, Qiao Q, Bai G, Li Y, Mathew A, Cao C, Cai J. Lipidated peptidomimetics with improved antimicrobial activity. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2012 Aug;3(8):683-686. Pubmedid: 24900530. Pmcid: PMC4025737.
  • Wu H, Amin MN, Niu Y, Qiao Q, Harfouch N, Nimer A, Cai J. Solid-Phase Synthesis of γ-AApeptides Using a Submonomeric Approach. Org Lett. 2012 Jul;14(13):3446-3449. Pubmedid: 22731678.
  • Niu Y, Padhee S, Wu H, Bai G, Qiao Q, Hu Y, Harrington L, Burda WN, Shaw LN, Cao C, Cai J. Lipo-γ-AApeptides as a new class of potent and broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. J Med Chem. 2012 Apr;55(8):4003-4009. Pubmedid: 22475244.
  • Wang RE, Costanza F, Niu Y, Wu H, Hu Y, Hang W, Sun Y, Cai J. Development of self-immolative dendrimers for drug delivery and sensing. J Control Release. 2012 Apr;159(2):154-163. Pubmedid: 22155555.
  • Bai G, Padhee S, Niu Y, Wang RE, Qiao Q, Buzzeo R, Cao C, Cai J. Cellular uptake of an α-AApeptide. Org Biomol Chem. 2012 Feb;10(6):1149-1153. Pubmedid: 22193209.
  • Wang RE, Niu Y, Wu H, Hu Y, Cai J. Development of NGR-Based Anti-Cancer Agents for Targeted Therapeutics and Imaging. Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2012 Jan;12(1):76-86. Pubmedid: 22023047.
  • Wang RE, Pandita RK, Cai J, Hunt CR, Taylor JS. Inhibition of heat shock transcription factor binding by a linear polyamide binding in an unusual 1:1 mode. Chembiochem. 2012 Jan;13(1):97-104. Pubmedid: 22134972. Pmcid: PMC3516905.
  • Niu Y, Padhee S, Wu H, Bai G, Harrington L, Burda WN, Shaw LN, Cao C, Cai J. Identification of γ-AApeptides with potent and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity. Chem Commun (Camb). 2011 Nov;47(44):12197-12199. Pubmedid: 21963627. Pmcid: PMC3746764.
  • Niu Y, Jones AJ, Wu H, Varani G, Cai J. γ-AApeptides bind to RNA by mimicking RNA-binding proteins. Org Biomol Chem. 2011 Oct;9(19):6604-6609. Pubmedid: 21826330. Pmcid: PMC3814216.
  • Padhee S, Hu Y, Niu Y, Bai G, Wu H, Costanza F, West L, Harrington L, Shaw LN, Cao C, Cai J. Non-hemolytic α-AApeptides as antimicrobial peptidomimetics. Chem Commun (Camb). 2011 Sep;47(34):9729-9731. Pubmedid: 21779608.
  • Hu Y, Li X, Sebti SM, Chen J, Cai J. Design and synthesis of AApeptides: A new class of peptide mimics. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2011 Mar;21(5):1469-1471. Pubmedid: 21292484.
  • Saha S, Cai J, Eiler D, Hamilton AD. Programing the formation of DNA and PNA quadruplexes by pi-pi-stacking interactions. Chem Commun (Camb). 2010 May;46(10):1685-1687. Pubmedid: 20177616. Pmcid: PMC3186060.
  • Cai J, Niedzwiedzki DM, Frank HA, Hamilton AD. Ultrafast energy transfer within pyropheophorbide-a tethered to self-assembling DNA quadruplex. Chem Commun (Camb). 2010 Mar;46(4):544-546. Pubmedid: 20062856. Pmcid: PMC3655531.
  • Cai J, Shapiro EM, Hamilton AD. Self-assembling DNA quadruplex conjugated to MRI contrast agents. Bioconjug Chem. 2009 Feb;20(2):205-208. Pubmedid: 19125646. Pmcid: PMC2657879.
  • Cai J, Rosenzweig BA, Hamilton AD. Inhibition of chymotrypsin by a self-assembled DNA quadruplex functionalized with cyclic peptide binding fragments. Chemistry. 2009;15(2):328-332. Pubmedid: 19053105.
  • Cai J, Li X, Yue X, Taylor JS. Nucleic acid-triggered fluorescent probe activation by the Staudinger reaction. J Am Chem Soc. 2004 Dec;126(50):16324-16325. Pubmedid: 15600325.
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