Skip to main content

Robert Pasternack

Senior Research Scholar

Inorganic Chemistry


Robert Pasternack in his lab


Ph.D., Inorganic Chemistry, Cornell University
BA, Chemistry, Cornell University


Key to the expression of the malaria disease-state is a pathway by which the parasite, Plasmodium, protects itself from heme toxicity. Our research program is designed to explore this process through the use of model chemical systems and to design approaches to overcome this self-protection - leading to effective, long-lasting treatment of the disease. In particular, we plan to determine: (i) the mechanism by which hemin is converted into the malaria pigment (hemozoin), (ii) the molecular details of how chloroquine and related drugs interfere with this process, (iii) the chemical factors that contribute to drug resistance by the Plasmodium parasite, and (iv) methods to neutralize this resistance.

Publications since 2000:

(undergraduate researchers marked with *)

I. Occhiuto, G. De Luca, V. Villari, A. Romeo, N. Micali, R. F. Pasternack and L. M. Scolaro "Supramolecular chirality transfer to large random aggregates of porphyrins" Chem. Commun. 47, 6045 (2011)

G. De Luca, A. Romeo, L. M. Scolaro and R. F. Pasternack, "Conformations of a Model Protein Revealed by an Aggregating CuII Porphyrin: Sensing the Difference" Chem. Commun. 46, 389 (2010).

R. F. Pasternack, B. Munda*, A. Bickford*, E. J. Gibbs and L. M. Scolaro "On the Kinetics of Formation of Hemozoin, the Malaria Pigment" J. Inorg. Biochem., 104, 1119-1124 (2010).

S. P. Sibley, K. Sosinsky*, L. E. Gulian*, E. J. Gibbs and R. F. Pasternack, "Probing the Mechanism of Insulin Aggregation with Added Porphyrins" Biochem. 47, 2858 (2008).

R. F. Pasternack, E. J. Gibbs, S. Sibley, L. Woodward*, P. Hutchinson*, J. Genereux*, and K. Kristian*, "Formation Kinetics of Insulin-Based Amyloid Gels and the Effect of Added Metalloporphyrins" Biophysical J., 90, 1033 (2006).

L. M. Scolaro, A. Romeo, and R. F. Pasternack, "Tuning Porphyrin/DNA Supramolecular Assemblies by Competitive Binding" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 126, 7178 (2004).

R. F. Pasternack, "Circular Dichroism and the Interactions of Water Soluble Porphyrins with DNA - A Minireview" Chirality, 15, 329 (2003).

R. F. Pasternack, E. J. Gibbs, D. Bruzewicz*, D. Stewart*, and K. S. Engstrom*, "Kinetics of Disassembly of a DNA-Bound Porphyrin Supramolecular Array" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 124, 3533 (2002).

R. F. Pasternack, S. Ewen*, A. Rao*, A. S. Meyer*, M. A. Freedman*, P. J. Collings, S. L. Frey*, M. C. Ranen and J. C. dePaula "Interactions of Copper(II) Porphyrins with DNA" Inorg. Chim. Acta, 317, 59 (2001).

M. Freedman* and R. F. Pasternack, "The Effect of Substrate and Template Rigidity on Metalloporphyrin Aggregation" The Chemist, 77, 25 (2000).

R. F. Pasternack, C. Fleming*, S. Herring*, P. J. Collings, J. C. dePaula, G. DeCastro* and E. J. Gibbs, "Aggregation Kinetics of Extended Porphyrin and Cyanine Dye Assemblies" Biophys. J., 79, 550 (2000).

K. Kano, K. Fukuda, H. Wakami, R. Nishiyabu and R. F. Pasternack, "Factors Influencing Self-Aggregation Tendencies of Cationic Porphyrins in Aqueous Solution" J. Am. Chem. Soc., 122, 7494 (2000).