About Mikail

Mikail’s scientific contributions


Mikail received his B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Vocal Performance from West Texas A&M University in 2004. During his undergraduate years, Mikail participated in various research projects, including the design and programming of interactive, educational chemistry software under the guidance of Professor James D. Woodyard; this program was widely adopted by the Chemistry Department at West Texas A&M and was used by students and faculty for over a decade. In 2008, Mikail completed his M.Sc. degree in Optical Physics at the Killgore Research Center with Professor Gene O. Carlisle, where he advanced the holographic image storage in liquid crystals and carbon nanotubes under externally applied electromagnetic fields. As a graduate student under the guidance of Professor Daniel Romo at Texas A&M University, Mikail made a number of advancements in the field of synthetic organic chemistry, most notably in the use of acylammonium salts as chiral dienophiles and the development of pharmacophore-directed retrosynthesis, a strategy to prepare simplified congeners of natural products with potent bioactivity. In 2016, Mikail joined the laboratory of Professor Benjamin F. Cravatt at the Scripps Research Institute as a Hewitt Foundation for Medical Research postdoctoral fellow. His earlier postdoctoral studies focused on identifying previously unknown protein-altering missense mutations, characterizing their cellular function in human cells, and discovering polymorphisms that cause loss-of-function in endo-cannabinoid serine hydrolases using innovative activity-based chemoproteomic platforms. His major contribution was an in-depth profiling of unexploited electrophilic chemotypes that unveiled druggable lysine residues in human cancer and immune cells. His findings deeply enriched understanding of functional lysine residues, and greatly expanded the druggable landscape of the human proteome.

The path that led Mikail to science


Mikail’s interest in scientific research stems from the unique life experiences of his youth. He was born in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan, where in 1988 the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan progressed into a horrendous war that resulted in ethnic purge and forced displacement of the people. His family was among the last to leave the terror behind. After fleeing Azerbaijan, his family relocated to a small town of Rahachow, Belarus. It was a deprived rural community and a part of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, still haunted by the effects of radiation from the nearby nuclear accident. It was common for research groups to carry out numerous tests at the local hospital near the school he attended. Fascinated by their instrumentation and curious about their investigations, Mikail became a frequent visitor and volunteer. As a former refugee of war and now US citizen, he understands the blessing of quality education and the significance of scientific research. As an academician and scientist, he ensures that this standard of scientific education and exploration remains available to all who wish to be part of its diverse community.

Mikail’s interests outside of the lab


Born to a classical pianist/composer mother and to a painter/sculptor father, Mikail was constantly surrounded by music and art during his childhood. At age fifteen, he graduated from School of Music and Performing Arts with an emphasis on concert piano and solfeggio. Classically trained as a baritone, Mikail has performed in choirs and operas during his undergraduate studies. As a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, he developed proficiency in guitar, drums and bass. As an artist, he was trained in Classical Realism by his father and later developed fascination for Surrealism and Digital Art. His illustrations can be found as the covers of various scientific journals, including Natural Product Reports, The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie, and ACS Chemical Biology. As an actor, he made his film debut in a supporting role for the short independent film The Heist, which screened at several film festivals across the US and Europe. The Heist won several awards, including Best Director at the Los Angeles Nollywood Awards and Best Film at the Super 8 Film and Digital Video Festival in 2020.


About Our Core Values

Our core values and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


As a research group, we strive to create a laboratory that cultivates a safe, inclusive, fair environment, where our students can thrive to advance scientific frontiers through research, innovation, and collaboration. We are committed to fostering a respectful and positive workplace culture. Our laboratory seeks to recruit and support individuals of all genders, ethnicities, nationalities, socioeconomic status, sexual orientations, religions, disabilities, ages, beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and groups that have historically been underrepresented in science. To this end, we aim to ensure that our research group is representative of what society looks like today and is active in solving scientific and societal problems that affect all of us. We promote these core values because we have an obligation to each other to uplift voices that have been marginalized in science. We also recognize that, like ecosystems, research groups are strongest, creative, productive, and successful when they are diverse.

Diversity in STEM: Resources and Organizations


Belonging at Cornell
Description
Belonging at Cornell is a framework designed to continue the progress towards making Cornell a more diverse and inclusive environment.

Diversify Chemistry
Description
The Diversify Chemistry aims to help symposium organizers, award committees, search committees, etc. identify chemists who might diversify their pool.

Women Chemists Committee
Description
The Women Chemists Committee serves to be leaders in attracting, developing, promoting, and advocating for women in the chemical sciences in order to positively impact society and the profession.

The Chemistry Women Mentorship Network
Description
The Chemistry Women Mentorship Network provides support, encouragement and mentorship for young women considering continuing their education or pursuing careers in academia.

Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists
Description
The Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists provides high-impact programs to ensure that women scientists and engineers have an equal opportunity to be successful in pursuit of their career aspirations.

Women of Color Research Network
Description
The Women of Color Research Network was created to provide women of color and supporters of their advancement in the biomedical sciences information about the NIH grants process, advice on career development, and a venue or forum for networking and sharing information.

The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
Description
The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers is a non-profit professional organization dedicated to assisting black and other minority students and professionals in fully realizing their potential in academic, professional, and entrepreneurial pursuits in chemistry, chemical engineering, and allied fields.

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science
Description
Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.

Latinas in STEM
Description
Latinas in STEM’s mission to inspire and empower Latinas to pursue, thrive, and advance in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers
Description
The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers was founded to help Asian heritage scientific and engineering professionals achieve their full potential.

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals
Description
National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics by providing education, advocacy, professional development, networking, and peer support.

Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Description
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is a national society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership in LGBTQA communities in the STEM fields.

STEM-Trek Veterans
Description
STEM-Trek Veterans supports travel and professional development for military science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) veterans from underserved regions and groups.

Student Veterans of America
Description
Student Veterans of America provides military veterans with the resources, support, and advocacy needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.

The Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center
Description
The Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology Center is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities through technology and education. It promotes awareness and accessibility — in both the classroom and the workplace — to maximize the potential of individuals with disabilities and make our communities more vibrant, diverse, and inclusive.

American Association for the Advancement of Science's Entry Point!
Description
Entry Point!, a signature program of the AAAS Project on Science, Technology and Disability, is a national effort to discover and develop talent among undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities who demonstrated a talent and interest in pursuing a STEM career.





Synopsis

SYNOPSIS


Our highly interdisciplinary research program spans the fields of chemistry, biology and physics with an emphasis on development of innovative chemical proteomic tools and technologies that modulate protein function and interrogate pathophysiological signaling pathways associated with human diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders. Our research program centers on the use of chemical biology approaches, including mass spectrometry-based chemoproteomics, and draws upon various disciplines such as cell and molecular biology, medicinal and organic chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics, and bioinformatics. Findings from our laboratory may enriched our understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings of pathological processes and provide valuable leads for the design and development of novel therapeutics.

Training

TRAINING


Students involved in our research program will engage in rigorous, highly interdisciplinary, and collaborative projects and will gain knowledge in: (1) organic chemistry with emphasis on total synthesis, chemical methodology and medicinal chemistry, (2) cutting-edge mass spectrometry-based chemoproteomic technologies with a special focus on untargeted and multiplexed methods, and (3) cellular and biochemical characterization of disease-relevant proteins and associated metabolic pathways in human cancer and immune cells. A knowledge base of organic synthesis and chemical proteomics acquired in our laboratory will enable students to approach biological problems from a unique perspective, with particular attention towards how molecular structure and reactivity affect biological systems. During the course of research, students in our laboratory develop the following skill set and expertise:

  • Chemical synthesis: multistep synthesis with analytical characterization, natural product total synthesis, chemical methodology and probe development, structural optimization, structure-activity relationship (SAR) analysis.
  • Cell culture: mammalian cell lines, bacterial and primary cultures.
  • Proteomics: activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) technologies, including tandem mass tag (TMT), isotopic tandem orthogonal proteolysis (isoTOP), stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC), reductive dimethylation (ReDiMe).
  • Molecular imaging: gel-based ABPP, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry.
  • Biochemistry: protein preparation, overexpression, purification, and protein engineering.
  • Molecular biology: cloning, transfections, PCR, RNAi, and CRISPR.

Projects

A GLIMPSE INTO OUR RESEARCH PROJECTS

(for a complete list of projects please contact Mikail)
  • Small molecule proteases for targeted, proteasome-independent degradation of proteins in human cells
  • serearchpic1


  • Illuminating the druggable ribonucleoproteome with lysine-reactive meroterpenoid natural products
  • serearchpic2


  • Metal-responsive electrophiles for elucidating metal ion dyshomeostasis in native biological systems
  • serearchpic3


  • Deciphering pathogenic dysregulation of endogenous formaldehyde with multicomponent reactions
  • serearchpic4


  • Stachybotrys microspora secondary metabolites as chemoselective biselectrophiles for mapping proteinaceous cysteine-lysine clusters
  • serearchpic5





public

2020

A proteome-wide atlas of lysine-reactive chemistry


Abbasov, M. E., Kavanagh, M., Ichu, T.-A., Lazear, M. R., Hacker, S. M., Ho, J., amEnde, C., Hayward, M. M., Kiessling, L. L., Cravatt, B. F.
Under Revision 2020



ENANTIOSELECTIVE, ORGANOCATALYTIC STRATEGY FOR THE OXAZOLOMYCIN CORE: FORMAL SYNTHESIS OF (+)- NEOOXAZOLOMYCIN


Chaheine, C. M., Gladen, P. T., Abbasov, M. E., Romo, D.
Org. Lett. 2020, 22, 9282–9286.

2019

Simplified immunosuppressive and neuroprotective agents based on gracilin A


Abbasov, M. E., Alvariño, R.; Chaheine, C. M.; Alonso, E.; Sánchez, J. A.; Conner, M. L.; Alfonso, A.; Jaspars, M.; Botana, L. M.; Romo, D.
Nat. Chem. 2019, 11, 342–350.



Gracilin A derivatives target early events in Alzheimer’s disease: effects on neuroinflammation and oxidative stress


Alvariño, R., Alonso, E., Abbasov, M. E., Chaheine, C. M., Conner, M. L., Romo, D., Alfonso, A., Botana, L. M.
ACS Chem. Neurosci. 2019, 10, 4102–4111.

2017

Enantioselective Diels-Alder-lactamization organocascades employing a furan-based diene


Abbasov, M. E., Hudson, B. M., Tantillo, D. J., Romo, D.
Org. Biomol. Chem. 2017, 15, 3179–3183.



Stereodivergent, Diels-Alder-initiated organocascades employing α,β-unsaturated acylammonium salts: scope, mechanism, and application


Abbasov, M. E., Hudson, B. M., Tantillo, D. J., Romo, D.
Chem. Sci. 2017, 8, 1511–1524.

2014

Acylammonium salts as dienophiles in Diels-Alder/lactonization organocascades


Abbasov, M. E., Hudson, B. M., Tantillo, D. J., Romo, D.
J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 4492–4495.

2012

Effects of carbon nanotubes on electro-optical properties of dye-doped nematic liquid crystal


Abbasov, M. E., Carlisle, G. O.
J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Electron. 2012, 23, 712–717.

2010

Hybrid carbon nanotube and dye-doped liquid crystal material for holographic imaging


Abbasov, M. E., Ghosh, S., Quach, A., Carlisle, G. O.
J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Electron. 2010, 21, 854–859.



Optical properties of permanent gratings in liquid crystal doped with dye and carbon nanotube


Suleiman, Y. S., Ghosh, S., Abbasov, M. E., Carlisle, G. O.
J. Mater. Sci.: Mater. Electron. 2008, 19, 662–668.


2018

Gracilin A and congeners as immunosuppressive and neuroprotective agents


Abbasov, M. E., Alvariño, R., Alonso, E., Sánchez, J. A., Alfonso, A., Botana, L. M., Romo, D.
U.S. Application No. 62/638,856 (WO/2019/173382). March 5, 2018.



Principal Investigator

Mikail E. Abbasov, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Cornell University
Baker Laboratory, Room 244
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (607) 255-8864

Postdoctorate, Chemical Biology,
The Scripps Research Institute
Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, Texas A&M University
M.Sc., Optical Physics, Killgore Research Center
B.Sc., Biochemistry, West Texas A&M University
A.Sc., Cell Biology, Amarillo College

Graduate Students

Katie Bracken


Katie is from Austin, Texas and completed her undergraduate career at the University of Mississippi, where she graduated with a B.S. Chemistry degree with honors in May 2020. During her undergraduate studies, Katie worked for the USDA Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, where she focused on isolation of biologically active natural products for use in agricultural applications. Her research project resulted in a publication and an opportunity to present at the Fall 2018 ACS National Conference in Boston. In the Abbasov group, Katie plans to use her experience with natural products to study small molecules that perturb the function of proteins involved in pathogenesis. Katie loves to teach, cook, hike, kayak, paddle board, and explore the beautiful Ithaca area.



Colby Gekko


Colby grew up in a beach town in southern California before she moved north to attend UC Berkeley. She received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology while researching chemical ecology under the guidance of Professor Paul Fine. Since graduation, she has coached her collegiate club rowing team, taught organic chemistry to UC Berkeley undergraduates, and studied viral infection immune response in the laboratory of Professor Raul Andino at UC San Francisco. In the Abbasov group, Colby wishes to learn how to use chemical proteomics to identify druggable vulnerabilities in disease pathways. Colby enjoys rock climbing, rowing, cooking, doing puzzles, solving Rubik’s cubes, and singing (poorly) in the shower.

Undergraduate Students

Kaylin Ro


Kaylin is from Minneapolis, MN and is a junior majoring in biological sciences. Her research interests include chemical applications and the engineering of novel methods in human diseases. Kaylin hopes to one day work in drug development and design, and is looking forward to learning about chemical proteomics! On campus, she is involved with the chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma and the Cornell Astronomical society. In her free time, she enjoys violin, classical music, classic literature, astrophotography, and mountain biking.



Nina Suss


Nina is originally from Metuchen, New Jersey. She is pursuing a major in Chemistry as part of the Tanner Dean Scholar program in the College of Arts and Sciences with the class of 2023. Outside of research, she spends her time running for the Cornell cross country and track teams and mentoring students at the local elementary school.





Positions Available

Postdoctoral Scholar in Cell Biology and Protein Biochemistry


Responsibilities:
We are seeking highly qualified candidates with strong background and experience in molecular and cell biology, protein biochemistry, and laboratory management. Familiarity with biostatistics, bioinformatics, and working knowledge of programming in Python is advantageous. Candidates are expected to assist in designing experiments, write manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, engage in ongoing collaborations, and provide assistance in training graduate students on laboratory equipment and techniques. Candidates should be strongly motivated, well organized, and have good communication skills and a strong work ethic. Preference will be given to candidates who can secure their own postdoctoral funding support.


Qualifications:
Ph.D. in Cell Biology, Biochemistry, or related field.


Application:
Candidates should submit a cover letter describing their relevant experience and research interests, curriculum vitae, publication list, and contact information for three referees.


Postdoctoral Scholar in Synthetic Organic Chemistry


Responsibilities:
We are seeking highly qualified candidates with strong background and experience in the synthesis of natural products and natural product-inspired libraries, structure-based optimization of bioactive small molecules, synthetic methodology development, and laboratory management. A working knowledge of programming in Python is advantageous. Candidates are expected to assist in designing experiments, write manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals, engage in ongoing collaborations, and provide assistance in training graduate students on laboratory equipment and techniques. Candidates should be strongly motivated, well organized, and have good communication skills and a strong work ethic. Preference will be given to candidates who can secure their own postdoctoral funding support.


Qualifications:
Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry, or related field.


Application:
Candidates should submit a cover letter describing their relevant experience and research interests, curriculum vitae, publication list, and contact information for three referees.


Graduate Students


Responsibilities:
We are seeking highly motivated graduate students interested in chemical biology, chemical proteomics, activity-based protein profiling, organic synthesis, cell and molecular biology, protein biochemistry, medicinal chemistry, drug and synthetic methodology development. Students wishing to pursue the Ph.D. or M.S. degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Biology (C&CB) and those participating in the predoctoral Chemical Biology Interface (CBI) program at Cornell University are encouraged to apply.


Qualifications:
B.S. in Chemistry, Biology, or related field.


Application:
Specific inquiries from prospective graduate students are welcomed and should be addressed to the graduate field office or to any faculty member in the field.


Undergraduate Students


Responsibilities:
Research credit opportunities for undergraduate students with an interest in chemical biology are available. Students must be highly motivated, meticulous, and organized. Students must have effective communication and problem solving skills, attention to detail, strong work ethic, and ability to work well in team environment. Students interested in pursuing graduate school are encouraged to apply.


Qualifications:
Currently pursuing B.S. in Chemistry, Biology, or related field.


Application:
Candidates should submit a cover letter describing their research interests, curriculum vitae, and a current copy of their transcript.





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DECEMBER 3, 2020

WELCOME TO OUR NEW UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT, KAYLIN RO!


We wish to extend a warm welcome to our new undergraduate student, Kaylin Ro. Kaylin is from Minneapolis, MN and is a junior majoring in biological sciences. Her research interests include chemical applications and the engineering of novel methods in human diseases. Kaylin hopes to one day work in drug development and design, and is looking forward to learning about chemical proteomics! On campus, she is involved with the chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma and the Cornell Astronomical society. In her free time, she enjoys violin, classical music, classic literature, astrophotography, and mountain biking.


OCTOBER 25, 2020

WELCOME TO OUR NEW GRADUATE STUDENT, COLBY GEKKO!


With great enthusiasm, we are pleased to welcome our new graduate student, Colby Gekko. Colby grew up in a beach town in southern California before she moved north to attend UC Berkeley. She received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology while researching chemical ecology under the guidance of Professor Paul Fine. Colby enjoys rock climbing, rowing, cooking, doing puzzles, solving Rubik’s cubes, and singing (poorly) in the shower.


WELCOME TO OUR NEW GRADUATE STUDENT, KATIE BRACKEN!


With great enthusiasm, we are pleased to welcome our new graduate student, Katie Bracken. Katie is from Austin, Texas and completed her undergraduate career at the University of Mississippi, where she graduated with a B.S. Chemistry degree with honors in May 2020. During her undergraduate studies, Katie worked for the USDA Natural Products Utilization Research Unit, where she focused on isolation of biologically active natural products for use in agricultural applications. Katie loves to teach, cook, hike, kayak, paddle board, and explore the beautiful Ithaca area.


SEPTEMBER 15, 2020

WELCOME TO OUR NEW UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT, NINA SUSS!


We wish to extend a warm welcome to our new undergraduate student, Nina Suss. Nina is originally from Metuchen, New Jersey. She is pursuing a major in Chemistry as part of the Tanner Dean Scholar program in the College of Arts and Sciences with the class of 2023. Outside of research, she spends her time running for the Cornell cross country and track teams and mentoring students at the local elementary school.


SEPTEMBER 9, 2020

Chemistry Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program


Mikail has been appointed as the Mentor in the Chemistry Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program at Cornell University. The primary goal of this program is to train graduate students with the core principles and techniques of chemistry so that they can address the most current and important problems in biology and medicine. The Cornell CBI Training Program is funded by the National Institute of Health/National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

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SEPTEMBER 8, 2020

The College Welcomes New Faculty


Twenty-seven new faculty join the College of Arts & Sciences this year, adding to the College’s strengths in areas including inequality, climate change, behavioral economics, health policy, history of capitalism and moral psychology.

Chemist Mikail Abbasov uses innovative technologies to investigate proteins and signaling pathways associated with cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. His interests include chemical biology, drug discovery and immunology.

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JULY 9, 2020

The Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology


With great enthusiasm, C&CB is pleased to announce that Dr. Mikail Abbasov and Dr. Erin Stache will both be joining the faculty as Assistant Professors in July 2020.

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