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University of Colorado Denver


Donald S. Backos, MPH, PhD

Assistant Research Professor, Computational Chemistry and Biology Core Facility Manager, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Mailing address:

University of Colorado
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Mail Stop C238
12850 E. Montview Blvd. V20-2210
Aurora, CO 80045

Office Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2210

Lab Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2210, 2420E(S)



  • Member - Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute

Training and Education:

  • BS, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Microbiology)
  • MPH, University of Michigan School of Public Health (Toxicology)
  • PhD, University of Colorado (Molecular Toxicology)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado (Computational Chemistry and Biology)

Research Interests:

I oversee the Computational Chemistry and Biology (CCB) Core Facility, which provides a wide array of advanced tools and services for computational-based simulations and modeling of chemical and biological systems. The CCB Core offers specialized expertise and services to researchers in both academia and the biotech/pharmaceutical industries, including:

  • Protein sequence analysis, including phylogenetic / evolutionary trace analysis
  • Generation and analysis of macromolecular 3D structure (protein, DNA, RNA, and antibody)
  • Optimization of macromolecule geometry and conformation
  • Prediction of macromolecule interactions (e.g. protein-protein, protein-DNA, receptor-ligand, etc.)
  • Explicit or implicit solvent-based molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics simulations
  • Rational small molecule drug design
  • Virtual small molecule library screening
  • Evaluation of ligand quantitative structure activity relationships (QSAR)
  • Generation of pharmacophore models
  • Computational-based prediction of drug ADMET characteristics

In addition, the visualization of molecular structures and their interactions is an essential aspect of analyzing and communicating the results of modeling studies. I also specialize in the production of eye-catching figures, graphics, illustrations, and animations for grant submissions, manuscripts, reviews, and presentations.

For more information, please visit the CCB core website:


Cover Illustrations:

Journal of Neuroscience, Aug 15, 2012 32(33),

Sirtuins – Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol 1077 (2013)