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Daniel V. LaBarbera, PhD

Associate Professor of Drug Discovery and Medicinal Chemistry and Director of the High-Throughput Screening and Chemical Biology Core Facility

CU AMC Affiliations

Adjunct Faculty, Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine
Full Member, CU Cancer Center, Developmental Therapeutics Program
Faculty Member, Structural Biology and Biochemistry Graduate Program
Faculty Member, University of Colorado Denver, Chemistry Graduate Program

Mailing Address and Contact Information

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mail Stop C238
12850 E. Montview Blvd.
Office Location: V20-2101
Aurora, CO 80045
Office Phone: 303-724-4116
Fax: 303-724-7266

Lab Locations and Contact Information

LaBarbera Lab Location: V20-2420B
LaBarbera Lab Phone: 303-724-4166

HTS Lab Location: V20-2211
HTS Lab Phone: 303-724-4166


High-Throughput Screening and Chemical Biology Core Facility

Training and Education

Dr. LaBarbera received his bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Arizona State University (ASU). As an undergraduate, he received a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to conduct undergraduate research in the laboratory of Edward B. Skibo focused on medicinal chemistry (1999-2001). In 2001, he continued his education at ASU as a graduate student with Professor Skibo focused on the synthesis and mechanistic studies of antitumor agents from nature. After completing his PhD in 2005, he moved to the University of Utah (U) where he trained in the laboratory of Professor Chris M. Ireland in natural products drug discovery. While at the U he received a National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct multidisciplinary cancer research through the Huntsman Cancer Institute. This diversified training focused on medicinal chemistry and cancer biology, including: high-throughput screening (HTS) assay development, 3D tissue culture models, in vitro and in vivo mechanism of action studies, total synthesis of natural products, and isolation and structure elucidation of natural products. In 2008, he joined the faculty at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Research Overview

Dr. LaBarbera’s laboratory is engaged in preclinical drug discovery and development aimed at translating effective therapies targeting cancer, diabetes, and microbial infection. A major focus is to identify novel therapeutics that specifically target the mechanisms controlling aberrant epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is linked to the pathology of the most prominent human diseases, including: fibrosis, diabetes, and cancer progression and metastasis. The LaBarbera lab is a multidisciplinary research program focused on drug discovery and development, including: (1) high-throughput and high-content screening (HTS/HCS); (2) developing novel tumor organoid models for 3D HTS/HCS drug discovery; (3) in vitro, cell-based and in vivo lead compound mechanism of action determination and pharmacology; (4) computer aided drug design (CADD) and medicinal chemistry.

Publications on PubMed Central


Dr. LaBarbera teaches in both the professional and graduate student curriculum offered at the SSPPS. He is the director of PHRD 5915 modern drug design and drug action course required for P1 students in the pharmacy curriculum. In addition, he is a faculty member of the Structural Biology and Biochemistry Program through the University of Colorado AMC Graduate School. He also has an appointment as a graduate faculty in the Department of Chemistry, the University of Colorado Denver Auraria Campus.​​​