David Sabatino, Ph.D.   

David Sabatino, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

My research related to the general theme of chemical biology focuses on exploring structure-activity relationships in biologically inspired RNA, peptide and protein analogs for the design and development of therapeutic agents. This involves the generation of novel methods in bio-organic chemistry to facilitate the incorporation of un-natural residues within RNA and proteins for investigating the molecular basis of structure and function within larger biologically relevant molecules. Therefore, mimics which can stabilize secondary structure and conformation may serve as useful molecular scaffolds for improving structure-function properties in biological targets (i.e. RNA and proteins) for potential medicinal chemistry applications.

Specific areas of research interests are related to:

The development of a diversity oriented synthesis approach for chemically modified RNA hairpins as pre-organized structural motifs in controlling gene expression in bacteria and viruses.

The generation of an iterative template chemical ligation procedure to selectively combine synthetic RNA fragments into larger and more complex RNA to study their structure-function properties.

Evaluating structure-activity relationships in bio-active peptide and protein mimics by a combinatorial solid-phase un-natural peptide synthesis strategy for the development of peptidomimetics as potential chemotherapeutic agents.

In proteins, a modular chemical synthesis strategy to generate insulin analogs with improved selectivity towards the insulin receptor for treatment of diabetes mellitus.

In combination of peptide with nucleic acid-based therapeutic strategies, cancer-targeting peptides are designed to provide target-specific delivery of fluorescent RNA dendrimers to cancer cell lines to increase signaling in the early detection of tumor growth and to potentially trigger the RNAi pathway leading to their apoptosis.

In addition to serving as an assistant professor for the Department of Chemistry, I am also a professor for Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.


  • Ph.D., McGill University
  • B.Sc., McGill University


“Solution-phase submonomer diversification of aza-dipeptide building blocks and their application in aza-peptide and aza-diketopiperazine synthesis”, Journal of Peptide Science, 16(6), 284- 296, May 2010

“Exploring Side-Chain Diversity by Submonomer Aza-peptide Synthesis”, Organic Letters, 11(16), 3650- 3653, July 2009

“To Rink or not to Rink amide link, that is the question to address for more economical and environmentally sound solid-phase peptide synthesis”, International Journal of Peptide Research and Therapeutics, 15(3), 211- 218, April 2009

“Benzophenone protection strategy for synthesis of aza-glycine containing aza-peptides”, Biopolymers: Peptide Science, 90(6), 824- 831, April 2008

“Oxepane Nucleic Acids (ONA): Synthesis, Characterization and Properties of Oligonucleotides bearing a 7-membered Carbohydrate Ring”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 129(26), 8259 – 8270, July 2007

“Solid-phase synthesis and on-column deprotection of RNA from 2′-(and 3′-)- O -levulinated (Lv) ribonucleoside monomers”, Organic Letters, 9(5), 789- 792, April 2007


Post-Doctoral Fellow, l’Université de Montréal, 2007-2010


D.W. Ambridge Award in Chemistry, outstanding doctoral thesis in the Faculties of Sciences and Engineering, McGill University, 2008

Carl A. Winkler Award in Chemistry, outstanding doctoral thesis in the Department of Chemistry, McGill University, 2008

David Sabatino, Ph.D.

Interprofessional Health Sciences Campus
Room 415

Call: 973-313-6359


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