High Tech with a Human Touch
Professor of Chemistry
Director of the Claude Pepper Institute for Aging and Therapeutic Research
Ph.D., Weizmann Institute of Science
Phone: (321) 674-7329
Fax: (321) 674-7743
Office: 334 Olin Physical Sciences Building
Dr. Rokach's main research interest is the use of bioorganic and synthetic chemistry to advance the understanding of biochemical and biological systems. The total syntheses of biologically important molecules are performed, and from these molecules, synthetic probes are designed to identify and isolate enzymes and receptors that have escaped isolation by the most commonly used techniques.
- Discovery of new synthetic reactions
- Elucidation of reaction mechanisms
- Synthesis of radioactive and other labeled molecules for the elucidation of biochemical pathways of the human body responsible for the generation of important mediators (hormones)
- Lipoxygenase Metabolism, study of 5-oxo-ETE its formation and its receptor. Design and synthesis of photo affinity radiolabeled probes for the characterization of the 5-oxo-ETE receptor.
- Synthesis of isoprostanes and the development of methods to measure them in vivo as an index of free radical generation in disease states--novel approach to degenerative diseases (e.g., cardiovascular, Alzheimer, etc).
- National Institutes of Health (NIDDK and NHLBI), "Biochemical Pathways of 12-HETE and 12-KETE Metabolism," 1992-2009, Total Award $3,383,000
Dr. Rokach has received worldwide recognition for the first syntheses of major inflammatory mediators such as leukotrienes and lipoxins that are responsible for diseases such as allergies of the lung and nose (asthma, rhinitis) and play a major role in diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases. The availability of these synthetic mediators has opened the field to medical research in the areas of allergy and inflammation. While at Merck & Co., Dr. Rokach and his team designed selective drugs that are now on the market as prescription drugs for asthma (Singulair®); for back-pain (Flexeril®); as a antianginal/anithipertensive agent (Blocadren®); and for a unique cure of glaucoma (Timpotic®). In recognition of his scientific achievements, Dr. Rokach has been awarded several prizes and honors, (e.g., the Government of Canada Silver Award (1986) for original research leading to marketable products; Prix Urgel Archambault (1986) for exceptional contributions to the development of physical sciences and mathematics; Canadian Society for Chemistry, John Labatt Ltd. Award (1988) for outstanding accomplishments in the field of organic and bioorganic chemistry; Xerox Lecturer (1988) for most innovative research in industry; Chinese Academy of Science (Taiwan) Award (1988) for outstanding contributions to eicosanoid research; and the Paul Ehrlich Prize (Paris, France) (1990) for outstanding contributions in the medicinal chemistry field for the last 10 years).
In addition to his research activities, Dr. Rokach serves on various international advisory committees and on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He is the author of 184 refereed publications, 50 reviews, 55 patents, and the author and editor of the book Leukotrienes and Lipoxygenases.