Mingji Dai, PhD


Titles and Roles

Asa Griggs Candler Professor, Department of Chemistry
Emory College of Arts and Sciences
Research Program
Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics


Mingji Dai, PhD, is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Emory College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Dai has expertise in synthetic methodology development, complex natural product and bioactive library synthesis, lead compound optimization, chemical probe development, and mechanism of action studies. Prior to joining Emory in 2022, Dr. Dai was on faculty at Purdue University.

Dr. Dai is a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics Research Program at Winship Cancer Institute. He is a member of American Chemical Society, and serves as a grant reviewer for American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Foundation.


Dr. Dai earned his PhD in Chemistry from Columbia University in New York, New York. He completed his postdoctoral training in Chemical Biology at Harvard University and The Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Dr. Dai and his lab team's research focuses on both natural and unnatural molecules with particular potential for the treatment of cancer, neurological disorders, and infectious diseases. Using the enabling synthetic methodologies and strategies developed in his lab, they have completed the total syntheses of over forty natural products including macrolides, alkaloids, and terpene molecules with anticancer, antiviral, and anti-neurogenerative activities. Their innovative natural product syntheses provide precious materials for comprehensive biological profiling of the target molecules, offer robust approaches for analog synthesis and further medicinal chemistry optimizations, and enable access to chemical probes for the elucidation of their mechanism of actions. His lab team has also created novel natural product-inspired small-molecule libraries for high throughput screening, from which lead compounds for targeting microbial drug resistance and challenging protein-protein interactions have been identified and optimized.


Dr. Dai has published numerous independent papers in scientific journals and obtained more than ten U.S. patents. He serves on the editorial board for Green Synthesis and Catalysis (by Elsevier).

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