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Faculty Profile

Gomika UdugamasooriyaGomika Udugamasooriya

Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Department of Pharmacological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Houston
Adjunct Associate Professor,
Department of Cancer Systems Imaging, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Adjunct Associate Member,
The Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine

Office: 
University of Houston College of Pharmacy
Health 2, Room 7033
4349 Martin Luther King Boulevard
Houston, TX 77204-5037

Contact: gomika@uh.edu - Office: 713-743-6357 - Fax: 713-743-1884

Research:

  • Novel peptoids and peptidomimetics identification, optimization, and biological validation.
  • Combinatorial chemistry and unique on-bead high throughput (HTS) cell screening technology developments.
  • Cancer diagnostic and theranostic tool developments.
  • Anti-cancer drug-lead developments.
  • Cancer stem cell biomarker identification and treatment validation.
  • Early biomarker-ligand pair identification for cancer detection and treatment.
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow at UT-Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX USA (2006-2009). Advisor: Professor Thomas J. Kodadek
  • Ph.D. in Bioorganic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA (2006). Advisor: Professor Mark R. Spaller
  • B.Sc. in Chemistry Special, Department of Chemistry, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka (1999). Advisor: Professor Dilip De Silva

Publications

  • Shukla, S.P., Zhang, H., Fang, B., Minna, J.D., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Unbiased peptoid cell screen identifies a peptoid targeting newly appeared cell surface vimentin on tumor transformed early lung cancer cells, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 2022, 58 116673.
  • Shukla, S.P., Cho, K.B., Rustagi, V., Gao, X., Fu, X., Zhang, S.X., Guo, B., Udugamasooriya, D.G., A novel peptidomimetic therapeutic for selective suppression of lung cancer stem cells over non-stem cancer cells, Bioorganic Chemistry, 2021, 116, 105340.
  • Shukla, S.P, Cho, KB., Rustagi, V., Gao, X., Fu, X., Zhang, S.X., Guo, B., Udugamasooriya, D.G., "Molecular masks" for ACE2 to effectively and safely block SARS-CoV-2 virus entry, Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Aug; 22(16): 8963.
  • Kedika S.R., Shukla, S.P., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Design of a dual ERK5 kinase activation and autophosphorylation inhibitor to block cancer stem cell activity, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters, 2020, 30(23), 127552.
  • Raymond, A.C., Gao, B., Girard, L., Minna, J.D., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Unbiased peptoid combinatorial cell screen identifies plectin protein as a potential biomarker for lung cancer stem cells, Scientific Reports, 2019(9), 14954.
  • Rustagi, V, and Udugamasooriya, D.G., A facile on-bead method for fully symmetric tetra-substituted DOTA derivatizations using peptoid moieties, Biopolymers 2018, 110(4), 1-11.
  • Kedika S.R., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Converting a weaker ATP-binding site inhibitor into a potent hetero-bivalent ligand by tethering to a unique peptide sequence derived from the same kinase, Org Biomol Chem. 2018 11;16(35):6443-6449.
  • Shukla, S.P., Udugamasooriya, D.G., A mini-library system to investigate non-essential residues of lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) binding peptide–peptoid hybrid PPS1 Med. Chem. Commun., 2017, 8, 2208-2215.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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., 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.

Awards & Honors

    • 50-in-5 Scholar: University of Houston, Houston, TX: Awarded twice in 2018-19 and 2020-21
    • 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

Patents

    • Udugamasooriya, D.G., Minna, J.D., Raymond A. R., Composition and methods of targeting cancer stem cells (WO2018053472A1)
    • Udugamasooriya, D.G., Brekken, R.A., Cancer specific lipid-phosphatidylserine (PS) targeted peptidomimetics as universal cancer therapeutics (US20180369189Al)
    • Udugamasooriya, D.G., Guo, B., Shukla, S.P., Cho, K.B., Zhou, S., Novel peptoid compounds that bind to cellular receptor ACE2 and prevent virus entry into cells (US63053032)
    • Udugamasooriya, D.G., Shukla, S.P., Zhang, H., Vimentin targeted peptoids for early diagnosis and treatment of cancer (US63229227)
    • Kodadek, T., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Brekken, R.A., High affinity VEGF-Receptor antagonists (US8334239)
    • Kodadek, T., Gocke, A., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Peptoid ligands for isolation and treatment of autoimmune T Cells (US20100303835)
    • Guo, B., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Shukla, S.P., Cho, K.B., Zhou, S., Inhibitors of IL-15 and their use in treating autoimmune/inflammatory disorders (UHOU.P0031US.P1)
    • Guo, B., Udugamasooriya, D.G., Liu, X., Shukla, S.P., Cho, K.B., Zhou, S., Compounds for drug delivery across blood-brain barrier (UHID 2020-050)

Grant reviewer

    • National Institute of Health (NIH) from 2016; W.M. Keck Foundation; Florida Department of Health (FLDOH) Biomedical Research Program; Auckland Medical Research Foundation, New Zealand

Journal reviewer

    • Chem. Soc. Rev., Nature Biotechnology. J. Amer. Chem. Soc., Chemcom, Nature Scientific Reports, ACS Chemical Biology, European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Bioconjugate Chemistry, Journal of Combinatorial Chemistry, Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, ACS Nano, Biopolymers, Molecular Biosystems, Clinical and Translational Medicine, Cancer Letters, Cell Biology International, Letters in Organic Chemistry, and 25+

Member

    • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), The American Chemical Society (ACS) and Phi Lambda Upsilon Chemical Society - Alpha Psi chapter