University Distinguished Professor and Behrakis Chair of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Alexandros Makriyannis

Pharmaceutical Sciences


PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas
Post-doctoral Fellow, University of California, Berkeley, CA


  • New (January 2020) publication in Cell- “Activation and Signaling Mechanism Revealed by Cannabinoid Receptor-Gi Complex Structures”
  • Keynote speaker at the 2019 ICRS meeting
  • New NIH funded grant- “Gut-brain Endocannabinoid Signaling in Feeding Behavior and Obesity”


Drug Design and Synthesis; Molecular Recognition; Membrane Biophysics; Membrane Protein Purification and Characterization; Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy; High Throughput Technologies


The Center for Drug Discovery is involved very heavily in the structural determination of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. We have published the CB1 structure in its active as well as its inactive form. In 2019, we published the CB2 in its inactive form and, in January 2020, our paper on the active form of CB2, as well as CB1, using x-ray and cryomicroscopy, a major accomplishment. The Center is also engaged in a highly successful program on microdialysis using MS, a novel approach that allows us to expand our Behavioral program while working very closely with McLean Hospital. Each year, the Center hosts The Chemistry and Pharmacology of Drugs Abuse conference (CPDA), an international, highly successful meeting supported by the NIH.

Currently, Center employs 27 staff and faculty members, 23 volunteers, 22 PhD students and Visiting Scholars, and 17 undergraduate students.


J. Guo, S. Pavlopoulos, X. Tian, D. Lu, S. Nikas, S. Nikas, D. Yang and A. Makriyannis, “Conformational Study of Lipophilic Ligands in Phospholipid Model Membrane Systems By Solution NMR.” J. Med. Chem., 46, 4838-4846 (2003).

M. M. Ibrahim, H. Deng, A. Zvonok, D. Cockayne, J.Kwan, H. P. Mata, T. W. Vanderah, J. Lai, F. Porreca, A. Makriyannis and T. P. Malan, “Activation of CB2 Cannabinoid Receptors By AM1241 Inhibits Experimental Neuropathic Pain: Pain Inhibition By Receptors Not Present In CNS.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 100, 10529-10533 (2003).

Makriyannis, A. and A. Goutopoulos, “Cannabinergics: Old and New Therapeutic Possibilities.” Makriyannis, A. and D. Biegel (Eds.), Drug Discovery Strategies and Methods. 1. 89-128, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, NY (2003).

Contact Information


116 Mugar Life Sciences Building


[email protected]



Curriculum Vitae