Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Isaac T. Schiefer, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Schiefer
Professor Of Medicinal And Biological Chemistry
Director, Center For Drug Design And Development (CD3)
Associate Director, Shimadzu Laboratory For Pharmaceutical Research Excellence

Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
Office: Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center 284C
Lab: Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center 275C
Phone: 419.383.1935
Schiefer Lab Website

Area of Research

Our lab carries out research in two areas at the interface of medicinal chemistry and chemical biology:

  1. small molecule hit-to-lead optimization- using synthetic, bioanalytical, and bioorganic chemistry
  2. target identification using techniques in chemical and cellular biology

Educational Background

Post-doctoral Fellowship in Chemical Biology Northwestern University, 2013
Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012
B.S.P.S. in Medicinal and Biological Chemistry The University of Toledo, 2007

Scope of Practice

The research in the Schiefer lab is focused on CNS drug discovery. We are a genuine multi-disciplinary research group. Specific activities carried out in the Schiefer lab include: organic synthesis; bioanalytical characterization of efficacy in primary neurons; in vitro metabolic stability and reactivity analysis; in vivo analysis of brain:plasma ratio and pharmacokinetics (using HPLC and LC-MS-MS); analysis of pharmacodynamic markers of efficacy (via ELISA, western blot, or microscopy); and in vivo behavioral efficacy studies using murine and zebrafish models of learning, memory, and motor function.


Our projects can be broadly classified into two categories: 1) target identification; and 2) hit-to-lead optimization. Target identification projects focus on using techniques in chemical biology to understand the molecular targets and mechanism of action of small molecules with interesting CNS activity. Ideally the knowledge gained during target ID studies will be used to produce novel proprietary small molecules, followed by hit-to-lead optimization. Our primary long-term objective is to translate SAFE and EFFECTIVE novel small molecule therapies into the clinic to improve patient outcomes and human health.

Awards, Honors and Grants


  1. New Investigator Award, “Development of NO Mimetic Furoxans as Novel Agents for Alzheimer's Disease Therapy” (Schiefer [PI]), American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
  2. NIRG-15-363739, “PK/PD study on a Prototype Attenuated NO Mimetic Furoxan” (Schiefer [PI]), Alzheimer’s Association
  3. R01AG057598,“Development of Attenuated Furoxans as Novel Therapies for Alzheimer's Disease” (Schiefer [PI]), NIH-NIA
  4. R03DA045833, “In Vivo Photoaffinity Labeling using Casper Zebrafish for Target Identification” (Schiefer [PI]), NIH-NIDA
  5. R03DA045350, “High Throughput Approaches To Determining The Lethality Of Synthetic Psychoactive Cathinones Using Danio Rerio Larvae” (Hall [PI], Schiefer [Co-I]), NIH-NIDA
  6. R56AG005214, “Signal shaping via multiple allosteric sites on oligomeric muscarinic receptors” (Ellis [PI], Schiefer [Co-I]), NIH-NIA

Peer review

  1. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry; ACS Omega; ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters; Scientific Reports (Nature); ChemMedChem; Medicinal Research Reviews; Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry; Chemistry Central; Brain Research. Guest Editor, Journal: Nitric Oxide, Special Issue: ‘Pharmacology & Medicinal Chemistry of Nitric Oxide’

NIH Study Sections

  1. The Blood-Brain Barrier, Neurovascular System and CNS Therapeutics
  2. Small Business: Drug Discovery Involving The Nervous System (ETTN)
  3. Small business panel on Drug Discovery for Aging, Neuropsychiatric, and Neurologic Disorders (ETTN)
  4. Synthetic and Biological Chemistry A Study Section (SBCA)

Issued Patents

  1. Furoxans as therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. Schiefer, I.; Shah, Z.; US. Pat. No. 10590119.
  2. Reactive Oxygen Species-Sensitive Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitors for the Treatment of Ischemic Stroke. Nash, Kevin M.; Schiefer, I.; Shah, Z.; US. Pat. No. 10829441
  3. Novel cysteine protease inhibitors and uses. Arancio, Ottavio; Fa, Mauro; Schiefer, Isaac T.; Thatcher, Gregory; US. Pat. No. 10647709.

Publications and Journals

UToledo Scholars

Last Updated: 10/20/22