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Liliya Yatsunyk

Associate Professor and Department Chair

Bioinorganic Chemistry


  2. Phone: (610) 328-8558
  3. Science Center 286
Liliya Yatsunyk


Postdoctoral Fellowship, BMBCB, Northwestern University
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Arizona
Honors Diploma, Chemistry, Chernivtsi State University, Ukraine


I teach Inorganic Chemistry (Chem 56) and an advanced seminar Topics in Bioinorganic Chemistry (Chem 106). In addition, I teach a General Chemistry Honors Course (Chem 10HN) and Advanced Integrated Experimental Chemistry (Chem 57) as well as laboratories in Biological (Chem 38) and Organic Chemistry II (Chem 32).


My laboratory focuses on the design, synthesis, and characterization of novel porphyrin-based antitumor drugs that function via inhibition of telomerase. The students will be exposed to various aspects of bioinorganic chemistry. They will get an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience in a broad range of techniques with multiple applications. These include basic and advanced synthetic skills, DNA manipulation, small molecules crystallization, collection/analysis of crystallographic data, and application of spectroscopic techniques (UV-vis, NMR, and CD) to characterization of porphyrin and porphyrin-G-quadruplex DNA interactions. The long term goal of the research is to contribute to the development of more potent porphyrin-based telomerase inhibitors.


Recent Publications (Swarthmore undergraduate co-authors *)

  1. Sabharwal, N. C.*; Chen, J.*; Lee, J. H.*; Gangemi, C. M. A., D’Urso, A.; and Yatsunyk, L. A. Interactions between spermine-derivatized tentacle porphyrins and the human telomeric DNA G-quadruplex Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 3686.
  2. Shastri, N.; Tsai, Y-Ch.; Hile, S.; Jordan, D.*; Powell, B.*; Chen, J.*; Maloney, D.; Dose, M.; Lo, Y.; Anastassiadis, T.; Rivera, O.; Kim T.; Shah, S.; Borole, P.; Asija, K.; Wang, X.; Smith, K. D.; Finn, D.; Schug, J.; Casellas, R.; Yatsunyk, L. A.; Eckert, K. A.; and Brown, E. J. Genome-wide identification of structure-forming repeats as principal sites of fork collapse upon ATR inhibition 2018 Mol. Cell 2018, 72, 222-238.e21.
  3. Guédin, A.; Lin, Y.*; Armane, S.; Mergny, J. -L.; Thore, S.; Yatsunyk, L. A. Crystal structure of G-rich sequence from the Dictyostelium discoideum genome: a four quartet G-quadruplex Nucleic Acids Res. 201846(10), 85297-5307. *equal contribution of two first authors.
  4. Kerkour A.; Marquevielle, J.; Ivashchenko, S.; Yatsunyk, L. A.,  Mergny, J.-L.; Salgado, G. “High-resolution 3D NMR structure of the KRAS proto-oncogene promoter reveals key features of a G-quadruplex involved in transcriptional regulation” J. Biol. Chem. 2017292(19), 8082-8091.
  5. Ruan, T.Davis, S.; Powell, B.Harbeck, C.; Habdas, J.; Habdas, P.; Yatsunyk, L. A. “Lowering the overall charge on TMPyP4 improves its selectivity for G-quadruplex DNA” Biochimie 2017, 132, 121-130.