Charles McKenna, PhD
Professor of Chemistry & Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Studies
An EIT Member, Charles McKenna received his PhD in Chemistry at UC San Diego and was an NIH postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. He then accepted a faculty position at the University of Southern California (USC) where he is now Professor of Chemistry & Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences. During the past decade, he was Chair of the Chemistry Department and then Dornsife College Vice Dean for Natural Sciences & Mathematics and currently directs the USC Drug Discovery Center.
His research interests in medicinal and bioorganic phosphorus chemistry include bisphosphonate imaging probes and therapeutics for bone diseases including bone cancers, nucleotide probes of DNA and RNA polymerases, design of novel anti-infective agents, and more effective approaches to cancer drug design. McKenna is the author of nearly 270 publications and patents and recipient of numerous awards for his research and teaching. He has also founded two biotech companies.
DNA Repair Mechanisms
Drug Design & Development
Oakland University- 1966
University of California, San Diego- 1971
- USC Stevens Technology Commercialization Award, 2017
- USC Fellow, National Academy of Inventors, 2017
- USC Dornsife Dean’s Award for Distinguished Service, 2017
- Chevalier, or Knight, in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Order of Academic Palms), 2012
- Mellon Mentoring Award, 2011
- USC Provost’s Prize for Teaching with Technology, 2010
- USC General Education Distinguished Service Teaching Award, 2009
- USC Raubenheimer Outstanding Senior Faculty Award, 2009
- USC Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award, 2007
- CET Distinguished Faculty Fellow Award, 2006
- USC Associates Award For Excellence In Teaching, 2006
- Oakland University Chemistry Department Distinguished Alumni Award, 2005
- Oakland University Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, 2005
- Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
- NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University, 1972-1973
- Full Member, Molecular Genetics, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2013-Present
- Founder and Chair, Scientific Board, BioVinc LLC, 2013-Present
- Founding Member, Bridge Institute, 2016-Present
- Director, USC Core Center of Excellence for Drug Discovery, 2017-Present
- Mietton F, Ferri E, Champleboux M, Zala N, Maubon D, Zhou Y, Harbut M, Spittler D, Garnaud C, Courcon M, Chauvel M, d’Enfert C, Kashemirov BA, Hull M, Cornet M, McKenna CE, Govin J, Petosa C. Selective BET bromodomain inhibition as an antifungal therapeutic strategy. Nat Commun. 2017. 8:15482. Epub 2017/05/19. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15482. PubMed PMID: 28516956; PMCID: PMC5454392.
- Kempfle JS, Nguyen K, Hamadani C, Koen N, Edge AS, Kashemirov BA, Jung DH, McKenna CE. Bisphosphonate-Linked TrkB Agonist: Cochlea-Targeted Delivery of a Neurotrophic Agent as a Strategy for the Treatment of Hearing Loss. Bioconjug Chem. 2018. 29(4):1240-1250. Epub 2018/02/28. doi: 10.1021/acs.bioconjchem.8b00022. PubMed PMID: 29485861.
- Toth K, Spencer JF, Ying B, Tollefson AE, Hartline CB, Richard ET, Fan J, Lyu J, Kashemirov BA, Harteg C, Reyna D, Lipka E, Prichard MN, McKenna CE, Wold WSM. USC-087 protects Syrian hamsters against lethal challenge with human species C adenoviruses. Antiviral Res. 2018. 153:1-9. Epub 2018/03/07. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2018.03.001. PubMed PMID: 29510156; PMCID: PMC5891362.
- Ni F, Lee CC, Hwang CS, Hu YL, Ribbe MW, McKenna CE. Reduction of Fluorinated Cyclopropene by Nitrogenase. J Am Chem Soc. 2013. 135(28):10346-10352. doi: Doi 10.1021/Ja3121058. PubMed PMID: 23834519.
- Hokugo A, Sun S, Park S, McKenna CE, Nishimura I. Equilibrium-dependent bisphosphonate interaction with crystalline bone mineral explains anti-resorptive pharmacokinetics and prevalence of osteonecrosis of the jaw in rats. Bone. 2013. 53(1):59-68. Epub 2012/12/12. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2012.11.030. PubMed PMID: 23219943; PMCID: 3552081.
- Junankar S, Shay G, Jurczyluk J, Ali N, Down J, Pocock N, Parker A, Nguyen A, Sun S, Kashemirov B, McKenna CE, Croucher PI, Swarbrick A, Weilbaecher K, Phan TG, Rogers MJ. Real-time intravital imaging establishes tumor-associated macrophages as the extraskeletal target of bisphosphonate action in cancer. Cancer discovery. 2015. 5(1):35-42. Epub 2014/10/15. doi: 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-14-0621. PubMed PMID: 25312016; PMCID: 4293349.
- Emadali A, Rousseaux S, Bruder-Costa J, Rome C, Duley S, Hamaidia S, Betton P, Debernardi A, Leroux D, Bernay B, Kieffer-Jaquinod S, Combes F, Ferri E, McKenna CE, Petosa C, Bruley C, Garin J, Ferro M, Gressin R, Callanan MB, Khochbin S. Identification of a novel BET bromodomain inhibitor-sensitive, gene regulatory circuit that controls Rituximab response and tumour growth in aggressive lymphoid cancers. EMBO molecular medicine. 2013. 5(8):1180-1195. Epub 2013/07/06. doi: 10.1002/emmm.201202034. PubMed PMID: 23828858; PMCID: 3944460.
- Kashemirov BA, Bala JL, Chen X, Ebetino FH, Xia Z, Russell RGG, Coxon FP, Roelofs AJ, Rogers MJ, McKenna CE. Fluorescently Labeled Risedronate and Related Analogues: “Magic Linker” Synthesis. Bioconjug Chem. 2008. 19(12):2308-2310. doi: 10.1021/bc800369c. PubMed PMID: 19032080.
- McKenna CE, Kashemirov BA, Upton TG, Batra VK, Goodman MF, Pedersen LC, Beard WA, Wilson SH. (R)-β,γ-Fluoromethylene-dGTP-DNA Ternary Complex with DNA Polymerase β. J Am Chem Soc. 2007. 129(50):15412-15413. doi: 10.1021/ja072127v. PubMed PMID: 18031037.
- Hokugo A, Kanayama K, Sun S, Morinaga K, Sun Y, Wu Q, Sasaki H, Okawa H, Evans C, Ebetino FH, Lundy MW, Sadrerafi K, McKenna CE, Nishimura I. Rescue bisphosphonate treatment of alveolar bone improves extraction socket healing and reduces osteonecrosis in zoledronate-treated mice. Bone. 2019. 123:115-128. Epub 2019/03/31. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2019.03.027. PubMed PMID: 30926440.