About the Chemical Biology Program

Our Collaborative Mission

The mission of the Chemical Biology Program is to serve as an intellectual center for cancer chemical biology and small molecule targeting modalities across the Institute, Harvard Medical School, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center communities, and beyond. We believe that an accelerated translation of our findings into clinical practice requires a multidisciplinary mindset and team science efforts, and we have extensive and fruitful partnerships with academic, clinical, and industry collaborators.

Our long-term goals are to:

  • Use our chemical creativity and knowledge to offer improved targeting technologies and strategies
  • Employ these to transform large portions of "undruggable" human proteome into pharmacologically addressable molecular targets
  • Provide improved clinical strategies to diagnose, monitor, and treat cancer and other diseases

We aim to be recognized as a global center of chemical biology excellence, and as a model program for translational chemical biology research in cancer, infectious, neurodegenerative, and autoimmune disease areas.

Our Program Emphasis


We emphasize the development of chemistry-based and chemistry-inspired solutions for addressing challenging problems in both basic and clinical cancer research, as well as providing small molecule-based solutions for clinical practice.

We also have active research interests in infectious, autoimmune, and neurodegenerative disease areas. We accomplish our goals by recruiting graduate students, lab managers, postdoctoral researchers, staff scientists, and faculty with a diverse range of scientific expertise and interests, and by encouraging team science and collaboration. Our graduate students also drive the Annual Chemical Biology Symposium.

We employ a pragmatic approach to basic research; we place value on delivering impactful chemical probes to basic science communities, and on delivering attractive drug leads to translational communities.

We also foster the spirit of entrepreneurship; our faculty and staff have been involved in spinning out a number of start-up companies. Our small molecules and stapled peptides have reached clinical trials, and with the FDA approval of osimertinib and ceritinib, our discoveries have reached clinical practice.


Our Research Interests

Our Chemical Biology Program revolves around several major research themes, as our faculty pursues interests in:

We push the boundaries of our field through collaborative and open science, and we make our chemical probes and technologies available to others.