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Profile: Gomika Udugamasooriya

D. Gomika Udugamasooriya photo
Gomika Udugamasooriya, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences
542F  Science and Research Building 2
Houston, TX 77204-5037
713-743-1229 (fax)


Post-Doctoral Fellow at UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA (2006-2009). Advisor: Prof. Thomas J. Kodadek

Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA (2006). Advisor: Prof. Mark R. Spaller

B.Sc. in Chemistry Special, Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (1999). Advisor: Prof. Dilip De Silva

Research Interests

  • Peptoids and peptidomimetics
  • Combinatorial chemistry and novel on-bead cell screen technology developments
  • Cancer therapy-diagnostic tool development
  • Cancer stem cell biomarker identification and treatment
  • Early biomarkers for cancer - identification and treatment


  • PCOL 6345 Drug design and discovery
  • PHAR 5302 Medicinal Chemistry I
  • PHAR 4134 Chemical functional group analysis

Invited Talks

“Peptoid combinatorial strategies for targeting unconventional biomarkers in cancer” University of California - Irvine, Irvine, CA, USA, 2017.

“Unbiased combinatorial approach for targeting unconventional biomarkers in cancer” Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, Florida, USA, 2017.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies to target non-protein biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment” Global Conference on Biochemistry, Glycomics & Amino Acids, San Antonio, Texas, USA, 2016.

“Unbiased combinatorial approach for targeting non-conventional biomarkers in cancer” University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA, 2016.

“Novel peptidomimetics based cancer therapy-diagnostic tool developments” University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2016.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies for therapy-diagnostic tool developments” 9th Peptoid International Meeting, Molecular Foundry, University of California-Berkeley, California, USA, 2015.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies to target non-protein Biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment” Drug discovery and therapeutic world congress, Boston, USA, 2015.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies to target biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment” University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA, 2014.

“Novel peptoid-combinatorial strategies to target protein as well as non-protein biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment” 248th American Chemical Society International Meeting, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2014.

“Simple chemical approaches for effective cancer therapy - diagnostic tool development” Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, USA, 2014.

“Peptidomimetics for effective cancer therapy development” University of Houston, Houston TX, USA, 2014.

“Simple chemical approaches for effective cancer therapy - diagnostic tool development” Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA, 2014.

“Combinatorial chemical‐biology strategies for cancer specific drug‐lead development” University of Tennessee – Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 2014.

“Combinatorial methods for contrast agent developments” University of Texas ‐ Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA, 2014.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies for cancer therapy-diagnostic tool developments” DFW Young Investigator talk, University of Texas - Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA, 2014.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies to target protein as well as non-protein biomarkers in the tumor microenvironment” American Chemical Society - Southwestern Regional meeting: tumor microenvironment session, Waco, Texas, USA, 2013.

“Peptoid-combinatorial strategies for molecular imaging tool developments”. American Chemical Society - Southwestern Regional meeting: Molecular Imaging & Reporter strategies session, Waco, Texas, USA, 2013.

“Peptoid-combinatorial approaches for therapeutic and imaging applications in cancer” Prostate Cancer Symposium: Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA, 2013.

“Cancer specific lipid-binding peptoids” 8th Peptoid International Meeting, Molecular Foundry, University of California-Berkeley, California, USA, 2012.

“Peptoid combinatorial technology” Targeting the Beta Cell for Therapeutics & Imaging Workshop, JDRF Headquarters - New York, New York, USA, 2011.

“Fighting with death: peptidomimetic approaches in anti‐cancer drug development” University of Texas - Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA, 2011.

“Development of peptidomimetics for therapeutic and imaging applications in cancer” University of Texas - Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA, 2011.

“Fighting with death: modern approaches in anti‐cancer drug development, challenges facing and future dreams” University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2011.

“Natural Pharmaceuticals: Time to Integrate with Synthetic Drugs” Global Forum for Sri Lankan Scientists (organized jointly by NSF and Ministry of Science & Technology), Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2011.

“Filling the gap: peptidomimetics for targeted imaging” UT‐Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA, 2011.

“Development of peptidomimetic ligands for targeted imaging and therapeutic applications in cancer” University of Texas - Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA, 2010.

“Unbiased selection of peptoids for combating cancer” 7th Peptoid International Meeting, Molecular Foundry, University of California - Berkeley, California, USA, 2010.

“A unique way to develop high specific peptidomimetics for cancer diagnostic and therapeutic applications”, Hamon Center for Therapeutic Oncology, UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, USA, 2010.

“Developing a novel method for the rapid isolation of highly specific ligands for cell surface receptors”. Young Investigator talk - 13th NHLBI Proteomics Investigators Meeting, Dallas, USA, 2009.

“Developing peptidomimetic ligands for therapeutic applications in cancer research”. University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA, 2009.


  • Udugamasooriya, D.G.; Minna, J.D.; Raymond A. R.; "Composition and methods of targeting cancer stem cells"(62396274).
  • Udugamasooriya, D.G.; Brekken, R.A.; "Cancer specific lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) targeted peptidomimetics as universal cancer therapeutics" (UHID 2015-070).
  • Brekken, R.A.; Udugamasooriya, D.G.; “Targeting Fibulin-5 as an anti-cancer strategy” (UTSD.P2852US.P1)
  • Kodadek, T.; Udugamasooriya, D.G.; Brekken, R.A.; "High Affinity VEGF-Receptor Antagonists” (8334239).
  • Kodadek, T.; Gocke, A.; Udugamasooriya, D.G.; “Peptoid ligands for Isolation and Treatment of Autoimmune T Cells” (UTSD.P2121US).

Selected Publications

Shukla, S.P., Manarang, J.C., Udugamasooriya, D.G., A unique mid-sequence linker used to multimerize the lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) binding peptide-peptoid hybrid PPS1, Eur. J. Med. Chem., 2017, 19;137:1-10.

Desai, T.J., Udugamasooriya, D.G., A comprehensive lipid binding and activity validation of a cancer-specific peptide-peptoid hybrid PPS1, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 2017, 486(2):545-550.

Singh, J., Rustagi, V., Zhang, S., Sherry, A.D., Udugamasooriya, D.G., On-bead combinatorial synthesis and imaging of europium(III)-based paraCEST agents aids in identification of chemical features that enhance CEST sensitivity, Magn. Reson. Chem., 2017 Feb 21. doi: 10.1002/mrc.4588.

Singh. J., Shukla, S.P., Desai, T.J., Udugamasooriya. D.G., Identification of the minimum pharmacophore of lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) binding peptide-peptoid hybrid PPS1D1 Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2016, 24(18):4470-7.

Singh. J., Lopes. D., Udugamasooriya. D.G., Development of a Large Peptoid-DOTA Combinatorial Library, Biopolymers-Peptide Science, 2016, 106(5), 673–684.

Desai, T.J, Toombs, J.E., Minna, J.D., Brekken, R.A., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Identification of lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) as the target of unbiasedly selected cancer specific peptide-peptoid hybrid PPS1, Oncotarget, 2016, 7(21), 30678-30690.

Matharage, J.M., Minna, J.D., Brekken, R.A., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Unbiased Selection of Peptide-Peptoid Hybrids Specific for Lung Cancer Compared to Normal Lung Epithelial Cells, ACS Chem Biol. 2015, 10(12), 2891-9.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Peptoids: An emerging class of peptidomimetics for cancer therapy and diagnostics, J Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics, 2013, 3(1), e121.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Kodadek, T., On-Bead Two-Color (OBTC) Cell Screen for Direct Identification of Highly Selective Cell Surface Receptor Ligands, Current protocols in chemical biology, 2012, 4, 35-48.

Hooks, J.C., Matharage, J.P., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Development of Homomultimers and Heteromultimers of Lung Cancer Specific Peptoids; Biopolymers-Peptide Science, 2011, 96(5), 567-577.

Napolitano, R., Soesbe, T.C., De León‐Rodríguez, L.M., Sherry, A.D., Udugamasooriya, D. G., On bead combinatorial synthesis and imaging of CEST‐MRI agents to identify factors that influence water exchange, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2011, 133, 13023-30.

Lynn, K.D., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Roland, C.L., Castrillon, D.H., Kodadek, T.J., Brekken, R.A., GU81, a VEGFR2 antagonist peptoid, enhances the anti-tumor activity of doxorubicin in the murine MMTV-PyMT transgenic model of breast cancer, BMC Cancer, 2010, 10(1), 397.

De León‐Rodríguez, L. M., Lubag, A., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Sun, X., Kodadek,T., Sherry, A.D., MRI detection of VEGFR2 in vivo using a low molecular weight peptoid-(Gd)8-dendron for targeting, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2010, 132(37), 12829-31.

Lee, J., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Lim, H.S., Kodadek, T., Potent and Selective Photo-inactivation of Proteins with Peptoid-Ruthenium Conjugates, Nature Chemical Biology, 2010, 6, 258-260.

Rubini C., Ruzza P., Spaller M.R., Siligardi G., Hussain R., Udugamasooriya D.G., Bellanda M., Mammi S., Borgogno A., Calderan A., Cesaro L., Brunati A.M., Donella-Deana A., Recognition of lysine-rich peptide ligands by murine cortactin SH3 domain: CD, ITC and NMR studies, Biopolymers, 2010, 94(3), 298-306.

Gocke, A., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Archer, C., Lee, J., Kodadek, T., Isolation of Antagonists of Antigen-Specific Autoimmune T Cell Proliferation, Chemistry and Biology, 2009, 16(11):1133-9.

Roland C.L., Lynn K.D., Toombs J.E., Dineen S.P., Udugamasooriya D.G., Brekken R.A., Cytokine levels correlate with immune cell infiltration after anti-VEGF therapy in preclinical mouse models of breast cancer, PLoS One, 2009, 4(11), e7669.

Muders, M.H., Wang, L., Dutta, S.K., Wang, E., Ikeda, Y., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Memic, A., Rupasinghe, C., Baretton, G., Datta, D., Simons, M., Spaller, M.R., Mukhopadhyay, D., GIPC/Synectin as a New Target in Pancreatic Cancer Treatment, Clinical Cancer Research, 2009, 15(12), 4095-103.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Ritchie, C., Brekken, R.A., Kodadek, T., A Peptoid Antagonist of VEGF Receptor 2 Recognizes A “Hotspot” In the Extracellular Domain Distinct From The Hormone-Binding Site, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2008, 16(12), 6338-6343.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Dunham, G., Ritchie, C., Brekken, R.A., Kodadek, T., The Pharmacophore of a Peptoid VEGF Receptor 2 Antagonist Includes Both Side Chain and Main Chain Residues, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Lett., 2008, 18(22), 5892-5894.

Astle, J.M., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Smallshaw, J.E., Kodadek, T., A VEGFR2 antagonist and other peptoids evade immune recognition, Int J Pept Res Ther., 2008, 14, 223-227.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Dineen, S.P., Brekken, R.A., Kodadek T., A Peptoid “Antibody Surrogate” That Antagonizes VEGF-VEGF Receptor 2 Interaction, J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 5744-5752.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Spaller, M.R., Conformational Constraint in Protein Ligand Design and the Inconsistency of Binding Entropy, Biopolymers, 2008, 89(8), 653-667.

Udugamasooriya, D.G., Sharma, S.C., Spaller, M.R., A Parallel Chemistry Approach to Organic-Modified Peptide Ligands for PDZ Domain Proteins: A Synthetic, Thermodynamic and Structural Investigation, ChemBiochem, 2008, 9(10), 1587-1589.

Udugamasooriya, G., Saro, D., Spaller, M.R., Bridged Peptide Macrocycles as Ligands for PDZ Domain Proteins, Org. Lett. 2005, 7, 1203 -1206.

Funding Support

Current Funding Support:

  • National Institute of Health (NIH): RO1 (PI): 1R01CA175779-01 - (04/01/2013 - 03/31/2018)
  • Owens Foundation (PI): (01/01/17 - 12/31/17)
  • Department of Defense (DOD): (Co-PI): 11115013 - (05/01/2014 - 12/31/2017)
  • UT BRAIN seed grant (Co-PI): (09/01/15 - 08/31/17)

Completed Funding Support:

  • Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT): Individual Investigator Award (PI): RP130258 - (12/01/2013 - 11/30/2016)
  • NIH R21 (PI): 1R21EB015602-01A1 - (09/30/2012 - 08/31/2014)
  • NIH SPORE Career Development Award (PI): 5P50 CA70907 (04/01/10 - 03/31/11)
  • Remeditex Industry Award (Co- PI): (11/01/2010-10/31/2013)

Service, Appointments and Memberships

  • Editorial board member:The Journal of Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics. Current Trends in Medicinal Chemistry.
  • Reviewer:Chem Soc Rev,Chemcom, ACS Chemical Biology, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, Biopolymers: Peptide Science, Molecular Biosystems, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters, Cell Biology International.
  • NIH Reviewer:NIH - SBIR/STTR - Cancer Drug Development and Therapeutics (CDDT) Study Section. NIH - SBIR/STTR- ZRG1 OTC-E (10) Cancer Biotherapeutics and Development (CBD) Study Section.
  • Member:The American Chemical Society (ACS). American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Phi Lambda Upsilon - Alpha Psi chapter (Honorary Chemical Society).

Awards & Honors

  • Faculty Excellence in Research Award: College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 2017.
  • NIH SPORE Lung Cancer Excellence Career Development Award: UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, 2010.
  • UT-Metroplex Science Award: Dallas, TX - 2008.
  • Royal Society UK Merit award: for the second most intelligent inter-university Chemistry student in Sri Lanka - 1999.
  • University of Colombo (UOC) Gold Medal: Best performance in Biology - 1996.
  • Dr. C. L. De Silva Memorial Award: Highest GPA in Chemistry at UOC in Sri Lanka - 1996-1997.
  • W. F. Peiris Memorial Fellowship: Institute of Chemistry, Sri Lanka - 1995-1996.