Justin Potuzak, PhD

Graduate Student

The Derek Tan Lab
Career Opportunities

Justin Potuzak, PhD

Graduate Student

Justin Potuzak

Start Year


End Year


Scientific Director, 2012–present
Chameleon Communications International
New York, New York

Instructor, 2009-2011
McLean Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2006-2009
with Prof. Amos B. Smith III
Department of Chemistry
University of Pennsylvania

PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College, 2006
Pharmacology Graduate Program
Sloan–Kettering Institute & Weill Cornell Medical College

Vincent du Vigneaud Prize, 2006

Cancer Pharmacology Predoctoral Trainee, 2006

Chemist, National Starch & Dye, 2000–2001

BS, Drew University, 2000

Thesis: Stereocontrolled Synthesis of Spiroketals Using Novel Cyclization Reactions, December 20, 2006


  1. Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals via Ti(Oi-Pr)4-mediated kinetic spirocyclization of glycal epoxides with retention of configuration. Moilanen, S. B.; Potuzak, J. S.; Tan, D. S.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 1792–1793. [ Abstract | PubMed | PMC ] (Highlighted in Nature )
  2. Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals via a remarkable methanol-induced kinetic spirocyclization reaction.Potuzak, J. S.; Moilanen, S. B.; Tan, D. S.* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2005, 127, 13796–13797. [ Abstract | PubMed  ]
  3. Synthesis of C1-alkyl and C1-acylglycals from glycals using a B-alkyl Suzuki–Miyaura cross coupling approach.Potuzak, J. S.; Tan, D. S.* Tetrahedron Lett. 2004, 45, 1797–1801. [ Abstract ]
  4. Discovery and applications of small molecule probes for studying biological processes.Potuzak, J. S.; Moilanen, S. B.; Tan, D. S.* Biotechnol. Genet. Eng. Rev. 2004, 21, 11–78. [ PubMed ]

News Articles

28th Annual Memorial Sloan Kettering Convocation Ceremony: Graduates and award winners celebrated
MSKCC Center News
Justin [Potuzak’s] research focused on a class of molecule called spiroketals that are found in a variety of biologically natural products. He developed a brand-new approach to synthesizing these molecules and in the process discovered a truly novel chemical reaction. His molecules are now being tested against a wide range of biological targets. [Full text]

Better Living through Chemistry: New tools in chemical biology
NYAS eBriefing
Chemical biology encompasses a highly diverse array of experimental approaches, and this diversity was quite well represented at a meeting on May 31, 2006, at the Academy.
[Overview (free) | Meeting report (membership req’d)]
Justin Potuzak’s seminar: Stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals using novel kinetic cyclization reactions
[Video (membership req’d)]

2006 Convocation Awards for Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences
Weill Cornell News Dean’s Bulletin
Justin Potuzak was awarded a 2006 Vincent du Vigneaud Prize for his work on the stereocontrolled synthesis of spiroketals using novel kinetic cyclization reactions. [Full text]

Chemistry: Order of the rings
One of the great challenges in organic chemistry is developing novel ways to synthesize complex structures. The best reactions work for a range of chemical substrates, and give high yields. By these criteria, a reaction, discovered by Derek Tan of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and his co-workers is near ideal. [Full text]