Ernesto Abel-Santos
Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry

University of Nevada Las Vegas

4505 Maryland Parkway

Las Vegas, NV 89154-4003


Phone: (702) 895-2608

Lab: (702) 895-2802





Dr. Abel-Santos received a Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry at Washington University School of Medicine in 1997 under the guidance of Professor George W. Gokel. In 1997, Dr. Abel-Santos moved to the Pennsylvania State University to carry out postdoctoral studies with Professor Stephen J. Benkovic investigating DNA polymerase function. Simultaneously, Dr. Abel-Santos developed a genetic system to produce biosynthetic cyclic peptides (SICLOPPS). In 2001, Dr. Abel-Santos became an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he continued to develop and apply the SICLOPPS Technology to find novel antibiotic targets. He also started studies on inhibitors of anthrax spore germination. Since 2006, Dr. Abel-Santos has been an Associate Professor of Chemistry at University of Nevada - Las Vegas.




Area of interests

Dr. Abel-Santos is interested in research that combines the areas of organic chemistry, biochemistry and microbiology. The Abel-Santos laboratory is currently applying enzymology approaches to the process of Bacillus spore germination. Due to its potential as a bioterrorism weapon, new methods to control B. anthracis (a.k.a ANTHRAX) infections are needed. B. anthracis spores are resistant to most type of antiseptic and antibiotic treatments. Although anthrax spores are  resilient, they have to “taste” their environment to determine when conditions are right to germinate (e.g. your lungs) Using the information gathered from the kinetic models, we have developed nucleoside inhibitors against anthrax spore germination. These compounds have proven to be effective in protecting macrophage form anthrax-mediated killing.







Spring 2007 :   CHEM 793 Special Topics: - Molecular libraries and High-throughput screening

Fall 2007 :       CHEM 476 Advance Topics in Biochemistry -: Enzyme kinetics



Selected Major Publications:

1.       Tanya Dodatko, Monique Akoachere, Nadia Jimenez, and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Inhibition of B. cereus spore germination,” in preparation.

2.       Tetyana Dodatko, Monique Akoachere, Christian Ross, Jürgen Brojatsch and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Bacillus cereus 569 (ATCC 10876) spores secrete amino acids during inosine-mediated germination”, submitted.

3.       Zadkiel Alvarez and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Potential use of inhibitors of bacterial spore germination in the prophylactic treatment of anthrax and CDAD,” Expert. Rev. Anti-infect. Ther., accepted.

1.       Monique Akoachere, Raynal Squires, Adel Nour, Ludmyl Angelov, Jürgen Brojatsch, and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Identification of an in vivo inhibitor of Bacillus anthracis Sterne spore germination,” J. Biol. Chem., 2007, 282, 12112-12118.

2.       Tanya Dodatko and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Differential nucleoside recognition during Bacillus cereus 569 (ATCC 10876) spore germination,” New J. Chem., 2007, 31, 748-755.

3.       Lisa O. Nilsson, Mostafa Louassini, and Ernesto Abel-Santos, “Using SICLOPPS for the discovery of novel antimicrobial peptides and their targets,” Prot. Pept. Lett., 2005, 8, 795-799.

4.       Ernesto Abel-Santos, Charles P. Scott, and Stephen J. Benkovic, “Use of inteins for the in vivo production of stable cyclic peptide libraries in E. coli,” in Methods in Molecular Biology: E. coli Gene Expression Protocols, Ch. 19, pp. 281-294, Vaillancourt, P. (ed), Humana Press, Totowa, N.J., 2002.

5.       Charles P. Scott, Ernesto Abel-Santos, A. Daniel Jones, and Stephen J. Benkovic, “Structural requirements for the biosynthesis of backbone cyclic peptide libraries,” Chemistry & Biology, 2001, 117, 1-15.

6.       Michael A. Trakselis, Stephen C. Alley, Ernesto Abel-Santos, and Stephen J. Benkovic, “Creating a dynamic picture of the sliding clamp during T4 DNA polymerase holoenzyme assembly by using fluorescence resonance energy transfer,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., USA., 2001, 98, 8368-8375.

7.       Hossein Shabany, Robert Pajewski, Ernesto Abel, Anindita Mukhopadhyay, and George W. Gokel, “The effect of twin-tailed sidearms on sodium cation transport in synthetic hydraphile cation channels,” J. Heterocyclic Chem., 200138, 1393-1400.


Last updated: August. 1, 2007