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University of Colorado Denver


Daniel V. LaBarbera, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Mailing address:

University of Colorado School of Pharmacy
Mail Stop C238
12850 E. Montview Blvd. V20-2101
Aurora, CO 80045

Office Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2101

Lab Location:

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Building (V20)
Second Floor
Room 2420A


Training and Education:

  • BS,   Biochemistry-Arizona State University
  • PhD, Organic Chemistry-Arizona State University
  • NIH/NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow, Marine Natural Products and Multidisciplinary Cancer Research -University of Utah and the Huntsman Cancer Institute

Research Interests:

  • Anti-cancer drug discovery, design and development
  • Organic Synthesis applied to drug discovery and development
  • Natural Products as a novel source for drug discovery and development
  • 3D-cell based assays adaptable for high-throughput Screening
  • Structure based drug design and molecular targeted therapies
  • Determining mechanism(s) of action of novel anti-cancer agents


Professional and Graduate Programs:
  • PHRD 3650-Principles of Drug Action
  • PHSC/BMST 7350-Proteins

The ultimate goal of our research is aimed at the discovery, development and clinical translation of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of human disease.  In particular we are interested in the discovery and development of novel anti-cancer agents for the treatment of metastatic disease.  To achieve these goals we utilize a multidisciplinary approach encompassing assay development, total and semi-synthesis, and molecular biology. 

Currently we are focused on developing 3D-cell based breast cancer models to discover small molecules that target and inhibit the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a key mechanism implicated in metastatic disease. Importantly, these models will be adapted for high-throughput screening (HTS) facilitating the discovery of novel anti-metastatic agents. A second aspect to our drug discovery approach is to optimize lead compounds discovered in our HTS models. Lead structures are optimized using total synthesis and semi synthesis to develop structure activity relationships (SAR), and make bio-probes (fluorescent tags, cross linking and biotin tags) to fine tune activity and determine relevant molecular target(s).

Representative Publications: