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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Santanu Maitra, Ph.D.

Office Location: Science 1, Room 246 
Office Phone: 559.278.2961


Dr. Maitra joined the department of Chemistry at Fresno State University in the fall of 2008 after spending about 9 years in pharmaceutical industry. His research areas comprise medicinal, agricultural, and bioorganic chemistry.

Areas of Specialty

The primary research focus has been in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease drug discovery and development of pest repellent. These collaborative projects evolved from ground zero in the hands of aspiring undergraduate and graduate students at Fresno State. The Alzheimer’s drug discovery research has yielded promising lead compounds based on in vitro and in vivo results earning several patents and publications. The research team’s hypothesis to modulate three proteins including apolipoprotein E (apoE) is novel, high-risk, and had been controversial. Currently the team is working hard to reveal the biological mechanism of action (MOA), initiate extensive in vivo studies, publish, and secure funding.

The unassuming agricultural project that at first had aimed solely at the ‘3-D shape analyses’ of analogs of DEET – a quintessential mosquito repellent, has surprised the collaborative team more than once.
Conformational analysis using variable-temperature (VT) and 2D NMR techniques revealed amide bond rotational secrets never known before. Recent studies have validated entropy-enthalpy compensation (EEC) process in a focused library of DEET analogs that awaits publishing. The team has also stumbled upon rather bizarre effects of magnetism on a handful of analogs. A more beneficial aspect of this project has been the discovery of two significant compounds that repel a major pest in the US – Spotted Wing Drosophila (SWD). Research and search for finding are ongoing.

The Maitra group has been fortunate to have a plethora of incredibly gifted, talented, and modest young students. Many of them chose professional schools, industry, or graduate school as their next stop. A great number of them have returned to the valley – a few of them even chose to return ‘home’ as lecturers in our chemistry department.

We wish to continue our journey toward simple, innovative, and novel research that can help human beings live a better life.