Francisco Leon, Ph.D.

Francisco Leon

Research Assistant Professor

Medicinal Chemistry


CV: Link to CV



  • B.S. Chemistry, National University of Colombia, Colombia
  • Ph.D. La Laguna University, Tenerife, Spain
  • Postdoctoral fellow, The University of Mississippi

Biographical Sketch

Francisco Leon obtained his B.S. in chemistry from the National University of Colombia, Bogota, Colombia. He completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in organic chemistry at La Laguna University, Tenerife, Spain. After postdoctoral positions at the European University of Madrid, Canary Islands Cancer Research Institute and The University of Mississippi. Leon was appointed as a researcher at the Natural Products and Agrobiology Institute, Spanish National Research Council, Spain. Leon then returned to the University of Mississippi as a research scientist. In 2017, Leon joined the University of Florida College of Pharmacy department of medicinal chemistry as an assistant scientist. His research interests include the exploration of the chemistry expressed through natural products from different sources, such as, plants and fungi. He has honed expertise in different methodologies; isolation of secondary metabolites, bioassay-guided fractionation strategies, structural elucidation of various natural products as well as, the synthesis/semisynthesis of natural compounds. Currently, his work is focused on the evaluation of these extracts/fractions/pure compounds for their ability to interact with opioid, cannabinoid or neuropeptide FF receptors with the goal of identifying new agents for pain treatment, anxiety and addiction.


  • American Chemical Society
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Select Publications

Flavonoids from Perovskia atriplicifolia and their In Vitro Displacement of the Respective Radioligands for Human Opioid and Cannabinoid Receptors. Amer Tarawneh, Francisco León, Sara Pettaway, Khaled M. Elokely, Michael Klein, Janet Lambert, Arsala Mansoor, Stephen J. Cutler. Journal of Natural Products 78, 1461-1465, 2015.

In vitro receptor affinity and in vivo behavioral studies of Nelumbo nucifera flower. Mallika Kumarihamy, Francisco León, Sara Pettaway, Lisa Wilson, Janet A. Lambert, Mei Wang, Christopher Hill, Christopher R. McCurdy, Mahmoud A. Elsohly, Stephen J. Cutler, Ilias Muhammad. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 174, 57-65, 2015.

Sesquiterpenoids isolated from two species of the Asteriscus alliance. Jorge Triana, Jose L. Eiroa, Manuel Morales, Francisco J. Perez, Ignacio Brouard, Jose Quintana, Mercedes Ruiz-Estevez, Francisco Estevez, Francisco León. Journal of Natural Products 79, 1292-1297, 2016.

Isolation of acacetin from Calea urticifolia with inhibitory properties against human monoamine oxidase-A and –B. Chaurasiya ND, Gogineni V, Elokely KM, León F, Nuñez MJ, Klein ML, Walker LA, Cutler SJ, Tekwani BL. Journal of Natural Products 79, 2538-2544, 2016.

Molecular modeling evaluation of the enantiomers of a novel adenylyl cyclase 2 inhibitor. Neha Rana, Jason M. Conley, Monica Soto-Velasquez, Francisco León, Stephen J. Cutler, Val J. Watts, Markus A. Lill. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 57, 322-334, 2017.