Barry Finzel, PhD

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Barry Finzel

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-5979

Fax 612-626-3114

Office Address:
2-160 Weaver-Densford Hall

Mailing Address:
University of Minnesota
College of Pharmacy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
8-101 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

PhD, University of California, 1983

Bachelor's, Eastern Michigan University, 1979


Finzel Research Lab

The Finzel group is engaged in structural biology research aimed at accelerating the development of medicinal agents and specific inhibitors of drug targets to advance the understanding of disease control. Research interests cover a wide range of possible therapeutic interests, including antbacterial and anticancer drug discovery and structural bioinformatics.
We utilize protein crystallography and biophysical methods to study the binding of small-molecule inhibitors to potential drug targets. 

Our laboratory on the ground floor of Weaver-Densford Hall on the Twin Cities Campus (East Bank) of the University of Minnesota is well-equipped for protein chemistry necessary to over-express and purify proteins, and to crystalize and investigate protein structure by analysis of X-ray diffraction. We often utilize the synchrotron X-ray sources at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, CA (Beamline 4.2.2 of the Molecular Biology Consortium), and the Advanced Photon Source innArgonne IL (Beamline 17-ID IMCA-CAT) for diffraction experiments.

Our laboratory seeks to apply the principles of organic chemistry, enzymology analytical chemistry, molecular & cellular biology, biophysics and nanotechnology to the development of new methods for drug design and delivery, chemically engineered cellular therapies and tissue engineering. The laboratories primary therapeutic focus has been on the development of new anti-cancer and antiviral therapies, as well as novel non-opioid pain medications. 

Fundamentally, we are interested in understanding and applying the principles of enzyme catalysis and macromolecular and cellular interactions. Our hope is that by creatively applying our expanding knowledge of these areas, we will continue to impact the design of future more selective and powerful medicines.


Structure-aided drug design; protein Crystallography; Biophysics; Fragment-based drug discovery



PubMed Bibliography

  • Z. Wang, W. Watt, N. Brooks, M.Harris, J.Urban, D.Boatman, M.McMillan, M.Kahn, R.Heinrikson, B. Finzel, J.Blinn, S.Kamtekar, A. Tomasselli. “Kinetic and Structural Characterization of Caspase-3 and Caspase-8 Inhibition by a Novel Class of Irreversible Inhibitors”. Biochim. Biophys Acta. 2010, 1804, 1817-31. PMCID20580860.
  • T.-L. Chiu, J. Solberg, S. Patil, T. Geders, X. Zhang, S. Rangarajan, R. Francis, B. Finzel, M. Walters, D. Hook, E. Amin. Identification of novel non-hydroxamate anthrax toxin lethal factor inhibitors by topomeric searching, docking and scoring, and in vitro screening. J. Chem. Inform. Modeling, 2009, 49, 2724-36. PMCID19928768.
  • C. Deur, A.K. Agrawal, H.Baum, J.Booth, S.Bove, J.Brieland, A.Bunker, C.Connolly, J.Cornicelli, C.Deur, J.Dumin, B.Finzel, X.Gan, S.Guppy, G.Kamilar, K.Kilgore, P.Lee, C.-M.Loi, Z.Lou, M.Morris, L.Philippe, S.Przybranowski, F.Riley, B.Samas, B.Sanchez, H.Tecle, Z.Wang, K.Welch, M.Wilson, K.Yates. (2007) “N- (6,7-dichloro-2,3-dioxo-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroquinoxalin-5-yl)- N-alkylsulfonamides as Peripherally Restricted N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Antagonists for the Treatment of Pain”. Bioorganic Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 17(16), 4599-4603.
  • J.A.Pfefferkorn, R.Nugent, R.J.Gross, M.L.Greene, M.A.Mitchell, M.T.Reding, L.A.Funke, R.Anderson. P.A.Wells, J.A.Shelly, R.A.Anstadt, B.C.Finzel, M.S.Harris, R.E.Kilkuskie, L.A. Kopta, F.J.Schwende (2005) “Inhibitors of HCV NS5B polymerase: Part 2: Evaluation of the northern region of (2Z)-2-(benzoylamino)-3-(5-phenyl-2-furyl)acrylic acid”. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 15, 2812-2818.
  • J.A.Pfefferkorn, M.L.Greene, R.Nugent, R.J.Gross, M.A.Mitchell, B.C.Finzel, M.S.Harris, P.A.Wells, J.A.Shelly, R.A.Anstadt, R.E. Kilkuskie, L.A. Kopta, F.J.Schwende (2005) “Inhibitors of HCV NS5B polymerase: Part 1: Evaluation of the southern region of (2Z)-2-(benzoylamino)-3-(5-phenyl-2-furyl) acrylic acid”. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 15, 2481-2486.
  • BCFinzel, ET Baldwin, GL Bryant Jr., GF Hess, JW Wilks, CM Trepod, JE Mott, VP Marshall, G.L.Petzold, RA Poorman, TJ O'Sullivan, HJ Schostarez, MA Mitchell (1998) "Structural characterization of non-peptidic thiadiazole inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases reveal the basis for stromelysin selectivity.". Protein Sci., 7, 2118-2126.