Roderick Heelis

Jung-Mo Ahn


  • chemistry
  • cancer research
  • diabetes research
  • rational drug design
  • peptidomimetics
  • oligo-benzamides
  • apoptosis
  • programmed cell death


Katherine Morales

Expert at a Glance

Jung-Mo Ahn, Ph.D. School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dr. Ahn is a bio-organic and medicinal chemist who specializes in rational design and synthesis of organic molecules targeting proteins involved in human diseases. He develops potential therapeutic candidates that hold promise for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and sickle cell disease.

He is pioneering the use of peptidomimetics including oligo-benzamides, which are specialized molecules that attempt to imitate functions of proteins. As an example, those can be used to trick cancer cells into behaving like normal cells, which eventually make themselves to die in a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

He was the lone researcher from Texas’ seven emerging research universities to receive funding from the newly formed Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), an initiative approved by Texas voters to fund $3 billion for cancer treatment and prevention.

He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Updated: July 6, 2010