About Robert W Huigens
Robert Huigens received his bachelors in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2003) and Ph.D. in Chemistry at North Carolina State University (2009). Dr. Huigens then became an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow in Professor Paul Hergenrother’s lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2013, Dr. Huigens began his independent career as an assistant professor at the University of Florida in the Medicinal Chemistry Department and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2020. Professor Huigens directs an energetic and collaborative research lab inspired by natural products and utilizes a combination of organic synthesis, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, microbiology and molecular biology to discover new compounds to treat disease and explore biological processes.
The Huigens lab is on a mission to discover new molecules that can treat human disease and study important biological processes. The majority of our work involves chemical synthesis; however, we have a productive microbiology team in our lab developing new assays and studying biofilms using RNA-seq technology. In addition, we are always excited to work with others motivated by drug discovery and chemical biology! Students and postdocs in our group receive training at the interface of chemistry and biology using a combination of synthetic organic chemistry (including complex molecule synthesis), medicinal chemistry and microbiology approaches.
The research in Dr. Huigens’ lab has been primarily funded by the National Institutes of Health (R-35; Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award, National Institute of General Medical Sciences), the American Cancer Society (Research Scholar Grant) and the University of Florida (start-up funds, multiple seed fund awards). In addition, the Huigens lab has also been involved in collaborative projects supported by the National Institutes of Health (NCI) and the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Inc.
In addition, Dr. Huigens’ research has been recognized through multiple Young Investigator Awards from the American Chemical Society, including: (1) Division of Medicinal Chemistry (in recognition for the discovery & development halogenated phenazine biofilm-eradicating agents, 2015), and (2) Division of Organic Chemistry (utilizing indole alkaloids as starting points for ring distortion synthesis and the identification of re-engineered derivatives with activities relevant to cancer, malaria and opioid addiction therapies, 2019). Dr. Huigens was also the recipient of a young investigator award from the Center for Biofilm Engineering (Montana State University) for the group’s medicinal chemistry efforts regarding novel bacterial biofilm-eradicating agents.