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Webster Santos

Industry Leader Spotlight

Webster L. Santos

Synthetic, Medicinal and Drug Discovery

My major field of interest is in organic synthesis and its application in chemical biology and medicinal chemistry. My research focuses on the development of synthetic methods to install boron, silicon, and phosphorus in molecules to afford novel, inaccessible organic compounds.

My team develops novel drugs for the treatment of various diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, multiple sclerosis, and chronic kidney disease. In particular, we are making drugs to target the mitochondria, sphingosine kinase, and sphingosine-1-phosphate transporters.

Prior to Virginia Tech, I received my bachelors and doctoral in synthetic and medicinal chemistry at the University of Virginia. Following a National Health Institutes postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University to study the chemical biology of targeting RNA structures and HIV-1 integrase, I started my academic career at Virginia Tech in 2006 as an assistant professor. In 2018, I was promoted to full professor as the A.C. Lilly Faculty Fellow of Drug Discovery.

I first discovered a passion for this work ...
As an undergrad working in a lab. I found the art of making novel compounds extremely rewarding.

My work impacts society ...
In providing potential therapeutics to improve human health. Our work has the potential not just to improve the quality of life of patients, but also to save them.

The most formative experience I've had ...
Was in graduate school and post doctoral studies. Both of my advisors were serial entrepreneurs.

I wish I invented ...
A magic wand that will make the molecule that I can draw on paper.

Words of encouragement to an inspiring inventor ...
Do the science and inventions will follow. Never disclose unless the intellectual property is secured.

My favorite quote ...
"Where is my compound?" - Webster L. Santos

In my free time ...
I spend time with my family and friends.

Best part of working at Virginia Tech ...
Is the freedom to pursue science and my entrepreneurial passion.

How is your work-life balance ...
What work-life balance??

Media Contact:

Lindsey Haugh

(540) 231-6959

Additional Highlights

Webster L. Santos    |    Professor

Chemistry, Virginia Tech

(540) 231-5742

Department of Chemistry - Faculty Bio Page