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Marcelo Nieto, PhD

Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Phone: 618-650-5130
Fax: 618-650-5145

Medicinal Chemistry
B.S., Chemistry (Organic Chemistry), 1992, National University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina, 1992.
Ph.D., Chemistry, 1999, National University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina
Postdoctoral, 2000-2002, The University of Mississippi


Dr. Marcelo Nieto, associate professor, joined the SIUE School of Pharmacy on October 1, 2006. He received his BS in chemistry (organic chemistry) from the National University of Córdoba (Argentina). In 1999, he completed his PhD working in design, synthesis and physicochemical studies of fluoroquinolone antimicrobials. After graduating, he moved to the U.S. to work as a postdoctoral researcher in synthesis of antiviral agents based on a natural product at the University of Mississippi, and then he moved up to a research scientist position at the same university. During the last three years at Ole Miss, his research was focused on the investigation of the interaction of the non-nitrogenous kappa opioid receptor agents (salvinorin A and analogs) with opioid receptors. He also collaborated in other projects in Dr. Chris McCurdy's research group — such as the design and synthesis of nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) non-peptide ligands based on receptor modeling studies. Dr. Nieto’s research interests are the design and synthesis of new chemotherapeutic drugs as well as the search for new bioactive natural products.

Research: Medicinal Chemistry & Natural Products

My research interests are focused in two main areas:
1. Rational combinatorial libraries design
2. Natural products-based drug discovery

Both of these are geared toward the discovery of novel chemotherapeutic agents with unique mechanism of action.

My lab has successfully worked on the development of a focused library of N-benzenesulfonyl-heterocycles that includes more than 200 members. From this library, we have found one lead compound as antibacterial, more specifically a compound with a moderate activity against E. coli. In addition, we have identified four compounds with antiparasitic activity. The results were useful in the study of structure activity relationships and refining of the lead compounds. Currently we are working on the design and development of a library of analogs of FC101, a potential anticancer natural product.


In the natural product area, we have successfully completed the bioassay-guided isolation and characterization of one anti-Staphylococcus aureus compound and two anti-Helicobacter pylori compounds from the plant Verbesina negrensis. Our plans include the study of plants from the Venezuelan Andean region that have been traditionally used as gastroprotective. The goal of this research is to identify and isolate natural products that are active against Helicobacter pylori, a Gram-negative bacterium that causes gastritis that leads to gastric ulcer and stomach cancer.

Selected Publications

T. Poirier, J. Fan, M. Nieto. “Survey of Pharmacy School's Approaches and Attitudes toward Curricular Integration”. Am. J. Pharm. Ed. (in press)

F. Mora, Y. Rojas, V. Gonzalez, J. Velasco, T. Díaz, N. Ríos, L. Rojas, J. Carmona, B. Silva, M. Nieto. “Chemical Composition and in vitro Antibacterial Activity of the Essential Oil of Verbesina negrensis (Steyerm.) from venezuelan andes”. Nat. Prod. Comm. (2015) 10 (7), 1309-1310.

M. Nieto, C. Li, T. McPherson, W. Kolling, E. Navarre. “Preparation and characterization of inclusion complexes of N-substituted-benzenesulfonyl heterocycles with cyclodextrins.” Austin J. Anal. Pharm. Chem. (2014) 1(2), 8.

F. Mora, L. Alpan, N. de Tommasi, V. McCracken, M. Nieto. “Bioactivity-guided isolation of a new antibacterial germacrene from Verbesina negrensis”. Planta Med. (2013) 79, 707-710, DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1328542.

F. Mora, L. Alpan, V. McCracken, M. Nieto. “Chemical and Biological Aspects of the genus Verbesina”. Nat. Prod. J. (2013) 3 (2), 140-150.

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