Lakshmi P Kotra, PhD

Follow Dr. Kotra:
The Kotra group is a multi-disciplinary group adapting an integrated approach in drug discovery that combines advanced principles in computer modeling, medicinal chemistry and biochemistry for efficient drug discovery process. Interests of the group lie in understanding enzyme/receptor structures; identifying underlying principles in the disease process; designing molecular intervention strategies using synthetic medicinal chemistry; confirming the biological/therapeutic activities of the designed compounds; and performing animal efficacy studies using disease models. Our group collaborates extensively with molecular biologists, structural biologists and clinician-scientists around the globe. Chemistry is at the core of all our research programs.
  • Research projects
    The Kotra group currently has a number of exciting ongoing drug discovery projects. These include structure-based design of (1) inhibitors against orotidine monophosphate decarboxylase (ODCase), (2) drugs effective for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease, (3) interferon mimetics as broad-spectrum antivirals, (4) drugs targeting thrombocytopenia and (5) antimalarials. Students and staff conduct chemical, biochemical and animal studies, as well as drug formulations experiments to translate discoveries into medicines. Research in the Kotra group is funded through a variety of public and private sector grants and contracts.
  • Core technical expertise
    The Kotra group has technical competency/expertise in synthetic medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and biochemical and animal studies, spanning small molecule therapeutics as well as biologics. Designing new strategies, especially in small molecule drug discovery, is a unique and special strength in the group.
  • Kotra group accomplishments
    The Kotra group has made significant contributions in medicinal chemistry and drug discovery leading to a number of licenses and translation into preclinical development. These include three novel classes of antimalarials, drugs for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, pre-lead compounds targeting neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS), and functionally effective agonists to interferon receptor as potential antiviral agents. Group activities have produced several license agreements with private sector partners, including three start-up companies.
Anesthesiology. 2019 Nov 25;:
Goel A, McGuinness B, Jivraj NK, Wijeysundera DN, Mittleman MA, Bateman BT, Clarke H, Kotra LP, Ladha KS
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2019;4(3):183-194
Lewis-Bakker MM, Yang Y, Vyawahare R, Kotra LP
ACS Omega. 2017 Sep 30;2(9):6091-6103
Lewis MM, Yang Y, Wasilewski E, Clarke HA, Kotra LP
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 May 04;:
Caprariello AV, Rogers JA, Morgan ML, Hoghooghi V, Plemel JR, Koebel A, Tsutsui S, Dunn JF, Kotra LP, Ousman SS, Wee Yong V, Stys PK
Mol Immunol. 2017 Dec;92:190-198
Djiadeu P, Farmakovski N, Azzouz D, Kotra LP, Sweezey N, Palaniyar N
Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2017;2(1):274-281
Yang Y, Lewis MM, Bello AM, Wasilewski E, Clarke HA, Kotra LP
J Med Chem. 2017 Oct 18;:
Tejeda EJC, Bello AM, Wasilewski E, Koebel A, Dunn S, Kotra LP
Bioorg Med Chem. 2017 Sep 05;:
Mundra S, Thakur V, Bello AM, Rathore S, Asad M, Wei L, Yang J, Chakka SK, Mahesh R, Malhotra P, Mohmmed A, Kotra LP
Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2017 Apr;5(2):e00303
Djiadeu P, Azzouz D, Khan MA, Kotra LP, Sweezey N, Palaniyar N



Director, Center for Molecular Design and Preformulations, UHN
Associate Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto
Scientific Director (Toronto-based), UHN-Shanghai