Ryan Murelli

The Group

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Course Information

Brooklyn College Chemistry Department

Ph.D. in Chemistry at CUNY Graduate Center

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Group News

Sept 2023
We have recently published our work on the synthesis and fluorescent properties of lactam-fused tropolones in Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. Congrats to Dan, Joel, Diana and JC!

September 2023
Congrats to Nana B Agyemang for the successful defense of his PhD thesis. Nana was joint-mentored with Mark Biscoe at City College,     and during his PhD studies he developed an atropselective cross-coupling strategy for troponoid-based biaryls.  Nana will be starting a position at AstraZeneca in October. 

July 2023
We are grateful to the Brooklyn College Cancer Center for awarding us with a one-year internal grant aimed at advancing colchicine binding-site analogs. This was made possible by a grant the BCCC-CURE secured from the American Cancer Society.

March 2023
Another publication has emerged from our long-standing collaboration with the Morrison lab at Saint Louis University School of Medicine on herpes simplex virus antiviral development. In this manuscript, we describe their repurposing efforts on a library of 57 amide-appended hydroxytropolones previously generated in our lab for hepatitis B antiviral development (w/ Tavis lab). Based on our SAR, a targeted series of 4 molecules were subsequently synthesized by Alex Berkowitz and tested by their lab and led to the identification of a highly potent amide-appended hydroxytropolone antiviral. Read about it in RSC Advances.

March 2023
Congrats to undergraduate student Justin Chow for being awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry! Read about this fantastic program here.

January 2023
Check out our recent mini-review on carbocycloaddition strategies in troponoid synthesis in Tetrahedron. The review is part of a wonderful  special issue honoring Professor John Wood that we were invited to contribute to.

December 2022
Contrats to Dr. Alex Berkowitz for his Successful PhD Thesis Defense! You can read about Alex's studies in his thesis.


June 2022
The Murelli group had a fantastic time at the 4-day ACS MidAtlantic Regional Meeting at nearby College of New Jersey. In addition to networking and hearing about great research taking place in the area, the meeting also allowed us  to present lots of new research through posters and talks.


April 2022
Congrats to Alex on his paper describing an autoxidation approach to tropolones in Journal of Organic Chemistry, and which was featured on the Journal Cover. The artwork includes illustrations by 10 year old Luci Murelli.

February 2022
Congrats to Dan and Diana on their publication describing the synthesis of highly oxygenated tropolones in Chemistry - A European Journal. We are grateful to our co-authors, long-time collaborators at Saint Louis University, John Tavis and Lynda Morrison, and researchers in their labs for evaluating these molecules in biological assays on Hepatitis B and Herpes Simplex Virus-1. This article was also dedicated to Stuart Le Grice, a friend, mentor, and collaborator, on the occasion of his retirement.

November 2021
Ryan contributed a chapter to the book series Strategies and Tactics in Organic Synthesis, edited by Mike Harmata. The chapter provides an invited account describing the lab's research on oxidopyrylium cycloaddition and troponoid chemistry over the last decade. Buy the complete book here!

August 2021
Murelli lab alumnus Lauren Bejcek, currently at PTC therapeutics, was highlighted by the Graduate Center. You can read about Lauren here.

July 2021
Ryan is humbled and honored to have recieved the 2021 Graduate Center Award for Excellence in Mentoring, which recognizes his work with students at the Graduate Center over the last decade. You can hear more about the award, as well as comments on Ryan and the other winners here.

March 2021
Lauren Bejcek has successfully defended her PhD dissertation describing her work on oxidopyrylium cycloaddition chemistry and some of the transformations she has found oxidopyrylium cycloadducts can undergo. Lauren will be starting a position as a medicinal chemist at PTC therapeutics next month. Congrats Lauren!

February 2021
Our first manuscript of the year is courtesy of PhD student Dan Schiavone and undergraduate Diana Kapkayeva, and appears in Journal of Organic Chemistry (link). This manuscript, entitiled "Investigations into a Stoichiometrically Equivalent Intermolecular Oxidopyrylium [5 + 2] Cycloaddition Reaction Leveraging 3-Hydroxy-4-pyrone-Based Oxidopyrylium Dimers" describes the scope of oxidopyrylium cycloaddition dimer usage when 1:1 ratios of ylide to dipolarophile are used, and some of the major side-products that can impede its usage and inform future development. Congrats to Dan and Diana!

September 2020
We have recently contributed to an invited manuscript for a special journal issue in Molecules on RNA (link). This manuscript, led by our collaborator Stuart Le Grice at the National Cancer Institute, describes the ability of some of our synthetic 3,7-dihydroxytropolones to inhibit initiation of hepatitis B virus minus-strand DNA synthesis, and is part of a larger collaborative effort to understand and advance tropolones as hepatitis B antivirals.

June 2020
We are grateful to be informed that the NIH NIGMS SCORE program has approved another 4 years of highly generous SC1 funding for our lab to continue our educational and research missions. Read more about it in a BC Hot News article written by Richard Pietras.

April 2020
PhD student Lauren Bejcek was recently awarded a Dissertation Year Fellowship from the CUNY Graduate Center for the 2020/2021 academic year. These are highly competitive internal grants meant to support PhD students in their final year of study. Congrats Lauren!

March 2020
We have recently published another manuscript as part of our collaboration with the Tavis Lab at Saint Louis University School of Medicine on hepatitis B antivirals. This manuscript evaluated over 60 amide-containing hydroxytropolones synthesized by various members of our lab in both cell-based and biochemical assays. In addition, the study also discloses a homology model that PhD student John-Charles Baucom used to evaluate the molecules in silico with our colleague Emilio Gallicchio. Read about it in Antiviral Research.

January 2020
First publication of the year is courtesy of PhD student Lauren Bejcek, and can be found in Chemical Communications. This manuscript describes a couple unexpected but mechanistically interesting regiodivergent ring-opening/ring-contraction cascades from maltol-derived oxidopyrylium cycloadducts. Congrats Lauren!

December 2019
Our group published our first Organic Syntheses procedure, which was put together by PhD student Nana Agyemang and checked by Richard Jackson in John Wood's lab at Baylor. The detailed experimental procedure describes the scalable synthesis of an oxidopyrylium reagent pretty much everyone in our lab uses, and that Nana got particularly good at making on large scale. We hope this procedure enables more widespread usage of this reagent.  Congrats Nana, and thank you Ricky and John!

October 2019
Our group published a manuscript describind the work of PhD student Lauren Bejcek, postdoctoral associate Aswin Garimalla, and undergraduate Duygu Suyabatmaz in Journal of Organic Chemistry describing and explaining observed reactivity differences between regioisomeric oxidopyrylium ylides derived from maltol and allomaltol. We want to thank our CUNY colleagues who collaborated with us on this manuscript, specifically Bill Hersh (Queens College) who solved crystal structures for us, as well as Alec Greer (Brooklyn College) and Edyta Greer (Baruch College) who carried out DFT calculations. Congrats to Lauren, Aswin, and Duygu!

October 2019
Our group published a manuscript in RSC Advances describing PhD student Nana Agyemang's work on a divergent route to access a library of structurally diverse hydroxytropolones. This library was tested by the labs of our collaborators John Tavis, Lynda Morrison, and Maureen Donlin at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and led to the discovery of new molecules with potent activity against hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus, and Cryptococcus neoformans. Congrats Nana!

June 2019
A new medicinal chemistry study focused on assessing the importance of lipophilicity in hydroxytropolone potency against herpes simplex virus-1 was recently published in Medicinal Chemistry Communications.This work is part of our ongoing collaborative studies with Lynda Morrison's lab at Saint Louis University School of Medicine. Congrats to Alex and Aswin!

May 2019
Studies from our lab describing a structure-acidity relationship of hydroxytropolones, conducted by Brooklyn College undergraduate John Stasiak and postdoctoral research associate Alex Grigoryan, can now be found in Tetrahedron Letters. Congrats John and Alex!

April 2019
PhD student Alex Berkowitz was recently informed that he is the recipient for the Rose K. Rose Dissertation Award for the 2019-2020 academic year. Congrats Alex!

March 2019
Troponoid-based chiral axes are way more configurationally stable then benzenoid-based ones. Read about it in our recent collaborative publication with Scott Miller's lab in Organic Letters. Congrats to Danielle, as well as Miller lab researchers, Anthony, Lizzy, and Golo!

September 2018
PhD student Danielle Hirsch has successfully defended her thesis! In October, Danielle will be heading to MIT for a Postdoctoral Associate Position in Alison Wendlandt's group. Congrats Dr. Hirsch!

Dr. Danielle

August 2018
Our group has recently coauthored a manuscript in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutics that describes our hydroxytropolones activity against Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Thanks to Stuart Le Grice and his lab at the National Cancer Institute for letting us be a part of these studies!

July 2018
Our group has recently disclosed a final-step amidation strategy for hydroxytropolone diversification in Tetrahedron Letters. Congrats to Alex and Rudolf!

April 2018
We have recently published a review article on oxidopyrylium cycloaddition chemistry in Tetrahedron. Congrats Lauren!

March 2018
We recently coauthored a viewpoint on hepatitis B ribonyclease H inhibitor development with John Tavis, Grigoris Zoidis, and Marvin Meyers. You can read about it in ACS Infectious Diseases.

February 2018
Our ongoing collaborative studies on bioactive tropolones has led to another manuscript, this time out of the lab of Joel Baines of the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. You can find the paper in Veterinary Microbiology. In the Baines group studies, it was found synthetic 7-hydroxytropolones can inhibit viral replication of cow, cat and horse-associated herpesviruses with structure-activity profiles comparable to human-associated HSV-1. Congrats to manuscript first author Shannon Dehghanpir of the Baines group!

January 2018
Michael's paper on fluorous phase synthesis of ╬▒HTs was accepted for publication in Journal of Organic Chemistry. Congrats Mike!

January 2018
Our group has had artwork chosen to be featured on the cover of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry for the first issue of 2018, helping highlight our recent paper on the synthesis and biological evaluation of 3,7-dHTs. Thanks to Rajat and Danielle for their help putting this together.

December 2017
PhD student Michael D'Erasmo successfully defended his thesis, and in a month he will be moving on to Emory University to carry out postdoctoral research in the lab of Dennis Liotta. Congrats Dr. D'Erasmo, and do us proud!

November 2017
Our group's collaborative work with the Brenner-Moyer group at Rutgers-Newark on iminium activation-driven asymmetric oxidoprylium cycloaddition has recently been accepted to Organic Letters. Congrats to Niccole and Danielle!

November 2017
Our manuscript detailing the adaptation of our oxidopyrylium cycloaddion/ring-opening route to access 3,7-dihydroxytropolones, was recently accepted into Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. This project, whose synthetic efforts were spearheaded by graduate student Danielle Hirsch, and supported by graduate students Dan Schiavone and Alex Berkowitz, also involved a heavy dose of biological, biochemical, and computational support from several of our collaborators. We thank the groups of John Tavis, Lynda Morrison, Stuart Le Grice, John Beutler, Liang Tang, and Emilio Gallicchio for their help on this project.

October 2017
Several papers have made their way into the literature recently stemming from our collaborative studies on the biological activity of our synthetic tropolones. Two of these came out of our NIH-funded project with the Tavis group, and represent important steps towards our goal of developing therapeuticaly viable anti-hepatitis B tropolones. The first publication, in Antiviral Research details our continued structure function studies, with a focus on cellular antiviral activity. The other manuscript, also in Antiviral Research, shows for the first time that inhibitors of hepatitis B's ribonuclease H activity, including one of our synthetic tropolones, can reduce the viral load in an animal model.

In addition, in a paper in Journal of Virology aimed at helping validate Herpes Simplex Virus UL12 as a target for antiviral development, the Weller lab at UConn recently found that several of our synthetic tropolones inhibited the enzyme. Excitingly, there was a close correlation between the structure function analysis determined by the Weller lab against UL12 and that determined in HSV-infected cells during the early phase of our ongoing collaboration with Lynda Morrison's lab at SLU.

March 2017
Graduate Student Danielle Hirsch was informed she will be awarded a Mina Rees Dissertation Fellowship in the Sciences for the 2017-2018 academic year. Congratulations Danielle!

February 2017
Maureen Donlin's studies on tropolone activity against Cryptococcus Neoformans, including an assessment of many of our synthetic 7-hydroxytropolones, was published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutics.

September 2016
A more detailed account of computational studies Emilio Gallicchio and his lab have been working on to study 7-hydroxytropolone inhibition of dinuclear metalloenzymes was published in ACS Omega.

July 2016
Two publications have recently emerged from our group, both in the journal Medical Chemistry Communications. One of these papers describes Michael's proof-of-principle studies of a solid-phase adaptation to 7-Hydroxytropolone synthesis, whereas the other describes our studies of synthetic 7-hydroxytropolones as inhibitors of HIV RT RNaseH. Special thanks to the labs of Drs. Stuart Le Grice, John Beutler, and Emilio Gallicchio for making these studies possible.

March 2016
Michael and Christine's paper on the discovery and development of a 3-component oxidopyrlium cycloaddition has recently been accepted to Journal of Organic Chemistry. Special thanks to Dr. Chad Lewis for his help throughout the process.

January 2016
A series of publications have come out recently from our collaborative efforts on 7-hydroxytropolones. In the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapeutics, Lynda Morrison of Saint Louis University School of Medicine describes the activity of synthetic 7-hydroxytropolones against herpes simplex virus. In a related study in the journal Biochemistry, Stuart Le Grice of the National Cancer Institute at Frederick describes how our library of 7-hydroxytropolones were used to help confirm new bioassays for a potential target for anti-HSV development, pUL15C. Finally, in the journal Nucleic Acids Research, Liang Tang of Kansas University describes the use of 7-hydroxytropolones to elucidate the mechanism of viral DNA-packaging terminase. These papers further highlight the growing interest in 7-hydroxytropolones and motivate our lab's synthetic chemistry efforts on this class of molecules.

December 2015
Our efforts with the Tavis lab toward a therapeutically viable inhibitor of Hepatitis B RNaseH for use in curative medicine for chronic hepatitis B has been given a big boost with a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Read more about it here.

August 2015
Ryan's postdoctoral research in the Spiegel lab on antibody-recruiting molecules for prostate cancer has led to a new worldwide licensing agreement between Yale University and Allied-Bristol Life Sciences (Allied Minds/Bristol-Myers Squibb). Read more about it here.

June 2015
The group's very first PhD student, Christine Meck, has successfully defended her Thesis. Chrissy will be teaching at Elmira College next Fall, where she will be responsible for curriculum development. Congratulations Dr. Meck!

May 2015
The group is awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (SC1GM111158) that will provide $1,558,600 to help fund the group's research over the next 4 years.

April 2015
Sarah Avidan is selected as a recipient by the New York Local Section of the ACS for the William H. Nichols Fellowship Award. The fellowship will be used to support Sarah's research in the lab during the summer of 2015. Congratulations Sarah!

March 2015
Danielle Hirsch is selected as a recipient of the WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Award to present her research at the Fall 2015 ACS National Meeting in Boston. Congratulations Danielle!

February 2015
The group is honored to be selected as one of the recipients of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-Sponsored CUNY Junior Faculty Research Awards in Science and Engineering. The award will provide $50,000 to help fund our research over the next year. Read a writeup on Ryan and other winners of the award here.

December 2014
One of our friends and collaborators, Dr. John Tavis, publishes a paper describing 7-hydroxytropolone's ability to inhibit hepatitis B viral replication through the inhibition of the viral RNaseH in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Congratulations Tavis lab and thanks for letting us be a part of these wonderful studies!

September 2014
The group's manuscript describing the ability of synthetic 7-hydroxytropolones to inhibit mechanisms of aminoglycoside antibiotic resistance and restore antibiotic activity, authored by graduate students Michael D'Erasmo, Danielle Hirsch, Christine Meck and undergraduate student Noushad Mohd, is accepted for publication in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Thanks to the lab of Dr. Gerry Wright for all of your help!

May 2014
The group's manuscript on the potent cytotoxicity of spirocyclic butenolides, authored by graduate student Michael D'Erasmo and undergraduate student Alberto Munoz, is accepted for publication in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters. Thanks to the labs of Drs. Luis Quadri and Jay Bradner for all of your help!

March 2014
The group publishes the first ever review devoted to the biology and synthesis of 7-hydroxytropolones in Medicinal Chemistry Communications. We hope this will lead to greater interest in this exciting class of molecules.

October 2013
The group's manuscript on a triflic acid-mediated rearrangments of oxidopyrylium-generated bicycles, authored by graduate research assistants Yvonne Williams, Christine Meck and undergraduate research assistant Noushad Mohd, is accepted for publication in Journal of Organic Chemistry

April 2013
Christine Meck selected as a recipient of the WCC/Eli Lilly Travel Grant Award to present her research at the Fall 2013 ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis. Congratulations Chrissy!

February 2013
Undergraduate Research Assistant Noushad Mohd wins second place prize for an essay he submitted for the 2012 CUNY Nobel Science Challenge. Congratulations Noushad!

December 2012
The group's manuscript on a new method for the synthesis of 7-hydroxytropolones, authored by graduate research assistant Christine Meck and undergraduate research assistant Noushad Mohd, is accepted for publication in Organic Letters.

September 2012
The group's manuscript on the synthesis of a new class of spirocyclic butenolides, authored by undergraduate Alberto Munoz, is accepted for publication in Tetrahedron Letters.

September 2011
The group is awarded a grant from National Institutes of Health (SC2GM099596). The award will provide $471,000 to help fund the groups' research over the next 3 years.

January 2011
The Murelli research group is open for business.