Rajesh Viswanathan

Assistant Professor


Millis Science Building 214

Other Information

Education: PhD, Indiana University

Scientific Oversight Board Member, Small Molecule Drug Discovery Core (SMDDC)


Natural Product Synthesis, Mechanism, Genetically-Encoded Biosynthetic Pathways, Drug Discovery



Viswanathan Research Group Site »


Research in the Viswanathan Group

Basic chemical questions and applied biological problems form two facets of our scientific endeavor. Our basic science is focused on: abiomimetic synthesis of natural products and bunderstanding the mechanisms underlying biosynthesis and metabolism. Applied biological problems involve development of small-molecule based therapeutic strategies for combating antibiotic resistance and proliferative diseases such as cancer. In a collaborative setup, we routinely employ asymmetric synthesis, genomics, mechanistic enzymology, and microbiology as tools to experimentally test bioorganic concepts.

These goals rest on four fundamental disciplines we study, namely: Organic Chemistry, Microbiology, Natural Products and Biocatalysts, as represented visually below.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Norah Alqahtani, Suheel K Porwal, Elle D James, Dana Bis, Jonathan A Karty, Amy L. Lane* and Rajesh Viswanathan* “Synergism between Genome Sequencing, Tandem Mass Spectrometry and Bio-Inspired Synthesis Reveals Insights into Nocardioazine B BiogenesisOrganic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2015, 13, 7177 – 7192. ‡ – contributed equally. Click here.
  • Elle D. James, Bryan A. Knuckley, Norah Alqahtani, Suheel Porwal, Jonathan A. Karty, Rajesh Viswanathan,* and Amy L. Lane* “Two distinct cyclodipeptide synthases from a marine actinomycete catalyze biosynthesis of the same diketopiperazine natural product”. ACS Synthetic Biology, Article ASAP Accepted: December 9 2015. Click here.
  • Karthikeyan Thandavamurthy, Deepti Sharma, Suheel K. Porwal, Dale Ray and Rajesh Viswanathan* “Regioselective Cope Rearrangement and Prenyltransfers on Indole Scaffold Mimicking Fungal and Bacterial Dimethyl Allyl Tryptophan Synthases” J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 10049-10067. Click here.
  • Melinda L. Micallef*, Deepti Sharma*, Brittney M. Bunn, Lena Gerwick, Rajesh Viswanathan§, Michelle C. Moffitt§Comparative analysis of hapalindole, ambiguine and welwitindolinone gene clusters and reconstitution of indole-isonitrile biosynthesis from cyanobacteria” BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:213
    * – Equal contribution; § – Co-corresponding authorship. Click here.
  • Melinda L. Micallef, Paul M. D’Agostino, Deepti Sharma, Rajesh Viswanathan, Michelle C. Moffitt*Genome mining for natural product biosynthetic gene clusters in the subsection V cyanobacteria.BMC Genomics, 2015, 16:669. Click here.
  • Dana M. Bis, Yang H. Ban, Elle D. James, Norah Alqahtani, Rajesh Viswanathan, Amy L. Lane* “Characterization of the Nocardiopsin Biosynthetic Gene Cluster Reveals Similarities and Differences to the Rapamycin and FK-506 PathwaysChemBioChem, 2015, 16, 990-997. Click here.
  • Yu, G.; Kuo, D.; Shoham, M. and Viswanathan, R.* “Synthesis and in vitro Evaluation of a Biaryl Hydroxyketone Library as Antivirulence Agents against MRSA.” ACS Comb. Sci. 2014, 16, 85–91. Click here.
  • Md. Faiz Ahmad, Sarah E Huff, John Pink, Intekhab Alam, Andrew Zhang, Kay Perry, Michael E. Harris, Tessianna Misko, Nancy Olenick, Suheel K. Porwal, Rajesh Viswanathan, and Chris Godfrey Dealwis* “Identification of non-nucleoside human ribonucleotide reductase modulatorsJ. Med. Chem. 2015, 58, 9498–9509. Click here.
  • Voelker, A. E. and Viswanathan, R.* “Synthesis of a Suite of Bioorthogonal GST Substrates and Their Enzymatic Incorporation for Protein Immobilization” J. Org. Chem. 201378, 9647-9658. Click here.
  • Voelker, A. E. and Viswanathan, R.* “Self-Catalyzed Immobilization of GST-Fusion Proteins for Genome-Encoded Biochips” Bioconjugate Chem., 2013, 24, 1295-1301. Click here.

* corresponding author


Teaching at Case Western Reserve University

Spring 2010 Advanced Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 422)
Fall 2010 Synthetic Methods in Organic Chemistry (CHEM 435)
Fall 2011 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (CHEM 233)
Spring 2012 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory II (CHEM 234)
Fall 2012 Synthetic Methods in Organic Chemistry (CHEM 435)
Spring 2013 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (CHEM 233)
Spring 2014 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (CHEM 233)
Fall 2014 Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 323)
Spring 2015 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (CHEM 233)
Fall 2015 Synthetic Methods in Organic Chemistry (CHEM 435)
Spring 2016 Introductory Organic Chemistry Laboratory I (CHEM 233)


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