Donna Huryn

Donna Huryn

Professor of Practice


Office – Chem 73 – Room 450
Lab – Chem 73 – Room 432

The Huryn lab is a medicinal chemistry and chemical biology laboratory. We focus on the design and design and synthesis of small molecule probes and potential therapeutics to understand and eventually treat diseases for which there is an unmet medical need, including acute kidney injury, muscular dystrophy, and rare neurodegenerative disorders, among others.  We have a particular interest in modulating epigenetic processes and have several projects targeting histone deacetylases and bromodomains.  We work closely with collaborators in biology, computational chemistry and related disciplines to advance projects.

Students in the Huryn lab become proficient in modern organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry and drug discovery.  They develop an understanding of biochemistry and biology, and use modern spectroscopic and analytical techniques.  There are also opportunities to work in collaborators’ labs to learn novel techniques and skills.



After receiving her undergraduate Chemistry degree (Cornell University) and Ph.D. degree (University of Pennsylvania, Chemistry), Donna M. Huryn began her career as a medicinal chemist in the pharmaceutical industry (Hoffmann-La Roche & Wyeth Research), and contributed to drug discovery efforts for HIV, cancer, asthma, and CNS disorders with increasing levels of responsibility.  In 2004, she joined academia.  She was a Professor at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Pharmacy, and until August 2023, when she was appointed Professor of Practice in the Chemistry Department at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Chemical Society (ACS), recipient of the ACS Philadelphia Local Section Award and Philip S. Portoghese Lectureship, and was inducted into the ACS Medicinal Chemistry Division Hall of Fame. She has held a number of elected positions at national levels of the ACS and the AAAS, and in the Organic and Medicinal Chemistry Technical Divisions.  She is co-author of the textbook Medicinal Chemistry (CRC Press), and served as an Associate Editor of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters from 2014- 2023. In 2019, she co-founded Empowering Women in Organic Chemistry (EWOC), and continues to serve on the organizing committee. 



•    B. A. Cornell University
•    Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania (Chemistry)


Research Interests

Identification, characterization and optimization of chemical probes of biological systems; Identification of novel agents to treat neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease; Design of novel chemical libraries to probe biological systems.

Courses Taught

Chem 742 – Medicinal Chemistry & Drug Discovery

Selected Publications

Structure property relationships of fluorinated carboxylic acid bioisosteres, T. Alle, S. Joyasawal, K. Oukoloff, K. Long, Z. Owyang, K. Francisco, D. Cahard, D. M. Huryn, C. Ballatore, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2023, 91, 129363. 10.1016/j.bmcl.2023.129363

Optimization of 1,2,4-triazole-based p97 inhibitors for the treatment of cancer, M.G. LaPorte, C. Alverez, A. Chatterley, Marina Kovaliov, E.J. Carder,  M.J. Houghton, C. Lim, E.R. Miller, L. P. Samankumara, M. Liang, K. Kerrigan, Z. Yue, S. Li, F. Tomaino, F. Wang, N. Green, G. M. Stott, A.Srivastava, T.-F. Chou, P. Wipf,  D.M. Huryn, ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2023, 14, 977-985.


Validation of HDAC8 Inhibitors as Drug Discovery Starting Points to Treat Acute Kidney Injury, K. Long, Z. Vaughn, M.D. McDaniels, S. Joyasawal, A. Przepiorski, E. Parasky, V. Sander, D. Cose, P.A. Johnston, A.J. Davidson, M. de Caestecker, N.A. Hukriede, D.M. Huryn, ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 2022, 5, 207-215. 10.1021/acsptsci.1c002430.


Affinity Capture with Small Molecule Bait for CryoEM: New Sample Preparation Method Reveals a 3.6Å Double-hexamer p97 Structure, M.R. Hoq, F.S. Vago, K. Li, M. Kovaliov, R.J. Nicholas, D.M. Huryn, P. Wipf, W. Jiang, D.H. Thompson, ACS Nano, 2021, 15, 8376-8385. 10.1021/acsnano.0c10185


p97:  An Emerging Target for Cancer, Neurogenerative Diseases and Viral Infections, D. M. Huryn, D.J.P. Kornfilt, P. Wipf, J. Med. Chem. 2020, 63, 1892-1907. 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.9b01318


High-throughput Identification of Post-Transcriptional Utrophin Up-regulators for Duchenne Muscle Dystrophy (DMD) Therapy, E. Loro, K. Sengupta, S. Bogdanovich, K. Whig, D. Schultz, D.M. Huryn, T. Khurana, Sci. Rep. 2020, 10, 2132.  10.1038/s41598-020-58737-6


A Different Kind of Medicinal Chemistry Toolbox, D.M. Huryn, M.-L. Bolognesi, ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2020, 3, 245-248. 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00685


Identification of a Novel Oleic Acid Analog with Protective Effects in Multiple Cellular Models of Friedreich Ataxia,  M.G. Cotticelli, R. Forestieri, S. Xia, S. Joyasawal, T. Lee, K. Xu, A.B. Smith, D.M. Huryn, R.B. Wilson ACS Chemical Neurosciences, 2020, 11, 2535-2542. 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00323


Ferroptosis as a Novel Therapeutic Target for Friedreich’s Ataxia, M.G. Cotticelli, S. Xia, D. Lin, T. Lee. L. Terrab, P. Wipf, D.M. Huryn, R.B Wilson, J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 2019, 369, 47-54.  10.1124/jpet.118.252759


Do Zebrafish Obey Lipinski Rules? K. Long, S.J. Kostman, C. Fernandez, J.C. Burnett, D.M. Huryn, ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2019, 10, 1002-1006. 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.9b00063


Optimization of Phenyl Indole Inhibitors of the AAA+ ATPase, p97, M.G. LaPorte, J.C. Burnett, R. Colombo, S.L. Bulfer, C. Alverez, T.-F. Chou, R.J. Neitz, N. Green, W.J. Moore, Z. Yue, S. Li, M.R. Arkin, P. Wipf,  D.M. Huryn. ACS Med. Chem. Lett. 2018, 9, 1075-1081. 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00372


A Threonine Turnstile Defines a Dynamic Amphiphilic Binding Motif in the AAA ATPase p97 Allosteric Binding Site, J.C. Burnett, C. Lim, B.D. Peyser, L.P. Samankumara, M. Kovaliov, R. Colombo, S.L. Bulfer, M.G LaPorte, A.R. Hermone, C.F McGrath, M.R Arkin, R. Gussio D.M. Huryn, P. Wipf Org. Biomol. Chem. 2017, 15, 409-4114. 10.1039/c7ob00526a


Medicinal Chemistry:  Where are All the Women? D.M. Huryn, M.L. Bolognesi, W.B. Young, ACS Med Chem. Lett. 2017, 8, 900-902. 10.1021/acsmedchemlett.7b00321