1992, PhD, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
2020 ~ date, CEO, Emerging Infectious Disease Division (EIDD), Biomedical Translation Research Center (BioTReC), Academia Sinica
Emerging and resurging mosquito-borne flaviviruses are an important public health challenge. The increased prevalence of dengue virus (DENV) infection has had a significant socioeconomic impact on epidemic countries. The recent outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) has created an international public health emergency because ZIKV infection has been linked to congenital defects and Guillain–Barré syndrome. To develop potentially prophylactic antiviral drugs for combating these acute infectious diseases, we have targeted the host calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) for inhibition. By using CaMKII structure-guided inhibitor design, we generated four families of benzenesulfonamide (BSA) derivatives for SAR analysis. Among these substances, N-(4-cycloheptyl-4-oxobutyl)-4-methoxy-N-phenylbenzenesulfonamide (9) showed superior properties as a lead CaMKII inhibitor and antiviral agent. BSA 9 inhibited CaMKII activity with an IC50 value of 0.79 μM and displayed EC50 values of 1.52 μM and 1.91 μM against DENV and ZIKV infections of human neuronal BE(2)C cells, respectively. Notably, 9 significantly reduced the viremia level and increased animal survival time in mouse-challenge models.