Alexandros Makriyannis

Alexandros Makriyannis


1967 PhD Medicinal Chem., Univ. of Kansas
1960 B.Ph.Chem. University of Cairo
1967-69 Postdoctoral Fellow, U.C. Berkeley

Area(s) of Expertise

Biotechnology and Bio-organic Chemistry

Research Interests

The Endocannabinoid System in Drug Discovery: Cannabinergic drugs modulate the central nervous and immune systems by acting through two receptors (CB1; CB2) and two classes of endogenous ligands represented by anandamide and 2-arachidonyl glycerol (endocannabinoids). The endocannabinoid system is further regulated by two inactivating enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and Monoacyl glycerol lipase (MGL), and a newly discovered transport system. We are studying the interactions of cannabinergic ligands with the above receptors, enzymes and transporters using a combination of chemical, biochemical, biophysical and computational methods. The use of NMR and mass spectroscopy are emphasized. Our results are used to design and synthesize novel therapeutically useful drugs for pain, appetite and central nervous system diseases.

Interactions of Drugs with Membranes: We study the effects of drug molecules on membranes using solution and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance and computational methods and use the results to design and synthesize improved medications. The classes of drugs include cannabinoids, steroids and antineoplastic ether lipids. The work also includes studying the mechanism by which these molecules are transported across the blood brain barrier.

Our research is well supported by NIH grants and offers opportunities for training in model medicinal chemistry. Choices of projects within the Center for Drug Discovery include: a) drug design and synthesis; b) chemical/biochemical approaches for studying drug:receptor interactions and; c) the role of membranes in drug action using biophysical methods.

Prof. Makriyannis is a joint appointment between the College of Science and Bouvé College of Health Sciences.


116 Mugar Life Sciences Building

Longtime Northeastern chemist receives prestigious AAPS award

Alexandros Makriyannis, George D. Behrakis Endowed Chair at Northeastern and Founder and Director of the Center for Drug Discovery, has received the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Distinguished Pharmaceutical Scientist Award for 2015. This award is part of a long line of accomplishments for Makriyannis, who has published over 500 papers and has over 50 patents in the field of medicinal chemistry.