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Stephen F Martin

Department of Chemistry

M. June and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry


Phone: 512-471-3915

Office Location
WEL 5.416

Postal Address
105 E 24TH ST
AUSTIN, TX 78712

University of New Mexico (BS, 1968)
Princeton University (PhD, 1972)
University of Munich (Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, 1972-73)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, 1973-74)
University of Texas:  Assist. Professor (1974-80); Assoc. Professor (1980-86); Professor (1986-)


Natural Products and Related Compounds

The focus of current research is upon inventing and developing general tactics and strategies for the synthesis of natural and unnatural products of biological or structural interest. A variety of architecturally complex alkaloids, polyketides, and terpenes are selected to serve as targets of opportunity to discover novel chemistry that will have broad utility. For example, we develop new aspects of rearrangements, ring forming reactions, and iminium ion chemistry to elaborate functionalized nitrogen and oxygen heterocycles that comprise structural subunits of a diverse array of natural products. We also have a program in which we design and develop efficient strategies to prepare collections of novel small molecules having substituted heterocyclic scaffolds found in natural products and drugs for biological screening. We are particularly interested in compounds that may be used to study function and mechanism in pathways associated with cancer and neurological disorders, the ultimate goal being to discover leads for developing therapeutic agents.

Molecular Recognition in Protein-Ligand Interactions

The design and synthesis of small molecules that exhibit high affinities and specificities for selected proteins is a key step in the process of identifying potential enzyme inhibitors and receptor antagonists or agonists. Toward this goal, we have adopted a unique, multidisciplinary approach wherein synthetic organic chemistry, microcalorimetry, protein crystallography, NMR spectroscopy, and computational chemistry are integrated in systematic studies to investigate explicitly how specific variations in ligand structure affect energetics, nonbonded interactions, dynamics, and kinetics in protein-ligand interactions. The focus of current studies is upon investigating the detailed effects of introducing conformational constraints and nonpolar substituents into small molecules that bind to SH2 domains, hepatitis C viral protease, and several other proteins of biological or medicinal interest.

Sahn, James J.; Hodges, Timothy; Chan, Jessica Z.; Martin, Stepehn F.; Norbenzomorphan Framework as a Novel Scaffold for Generating Sigma 2 Subtype Selective Ligands. ChemMedChem. 2016, 11, 556-561. 

Cheng, Bo; Sunderhaus, James D.; Martin, Stephen F.; Applications of ring closing metathesis. Total synthesis of (±)-pseudotabersonine. Tetrahedron. 2015, 71, 7323 - 7331.

Hethcox, J. Caleb; Shanahan, Charles S.; Martin, Stephen F.; Diastereoselective addition of monoorganocuprates to a chiral fumarate: reaction development and synthesis of (−)-dihydroprotolichesterinic acid. Tetrahedron. 2015, 71, 6361 - 6368.

Knueppel, Daniel; Yang, Jingyue; Cheng, Bo; Mans, Douglas; Martin, Stephen F.; Total synthesis of the aglycone of IB-00208. Tetrahedron. 2015, 71, 5741 - 5757.

Blumberg, Shawn; Martin, Stephen F.; 4-(Phenylazo)diphenylamine (PDA): a universal indicator for the colorimetric titration of strong bases, Lewis acids, and hydride reducing agents. Tetrahedron Lett. 2015, 56, 3674 - 3678.

  • Ernest Guenther Award in the Chemistry of Natural Products (ACS), 2017
  • International Society of Heterocyclic Chemistry (ISHC) Senior Award, 2013
  • Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
  • Wyeth Research Award, 2003
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Award, 2001
  • Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, 1996
  • Alexander von Humboldt Prize, 1995