Zarko Boskovic

  • Assistant Professor
  • School of Pharmacy - Medicinal Chemistry
Gray LIttle Hall, Room 2192
University of Kansas
1567 Irving Hill Rd.
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572


  • Postdoctoral: The Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard, Cambridge, MA (Advisor: Stuart Schreiber) (2011 - 2017)
  • Ph.D.:Organic Chemistry; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA (Advisor: Bruce Lipshutz) (2006-2011)
  • BSc: Chemistry, University of Niš, Serbia (2001-2006)


Professional Experience

  • Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS (2018-present)

Research Overview

Compounds prepared by modern synthetic chemistry and a rapid and broad glance into their biological activity provide a path for finding molecules that can serve as starting points for new therapies. Data-driven decisions about which compounds and synthetic pathways to pursue change the way chemists are able to direct drug-discovery activities, putting structure back into the center of this process.

As diseases are increasingly defined at a molecular level, synthetic chemistry allows us to study and control what defines them exactly at this level. To discover new ligands for proteins (or other structures of biological importance), we are able to synthesize collections of structurally complex compounds and phenotypically profile their biological activities. We prioritize compounds with novel profiles for further investigation of their detailed mechanisms of action, including target identification and of system-wide view of the perturbation they cause.

The insight into new compounds’ biological activities also lets us identify unsolved synthetic chemistry problems that we apply our efforts to solve.


Selected Publications


  1. V. S. Viswanathan, M. J. Ryan, H. D. Dhruv, S. Gill, O. M. Eichhoff, B. Seashore-Ludlow, S. D. Kaffenberger, J. K. Eaton, K. Shimada, A. J. Aguirre, S. R. Viswanathan, S. Chattopadhyay, P.S. Tamayo, W. S. Yang, M. G. Rees, S. Chen, Z. V. Boskovic, S. Javaid, C. Huang, X. Wu, Y.-Y. Tseng, E. M. Roider, D. Gao, J. M. Cleary, B. M. Wolpin, J. P. Mesirov, D. A. Haber, J. A. Engelman, J. S. Boehm, J. D. Kotz, C. Hon, Y. Chen, W. C. Hahn, M. P. Levesque, J. G. Doench, M. E. Berens, A. F. Shamji, P. A. Clemons, B. R. Stockwell, S. L. Schreiber “Dependency of a therapy-resistant state of cancer cells on a lipid peroxidase pathway,” Nature, 2017, 547, 453–457
  2. R. Linstadt, C. Peterson, C. Jette, Z. Boskovic, B. Lipshutz “Control of Chemo-, Regio-, and Enantio-Selectivity in Copper Hydride Reductions of Morita-Baylis-Hillman Adducts”, Organic Letters, 2017, 19, 328–331
  3. Z. V. Boskovic, M. Kemp, A. Freedy, V. Viswanathan, M. Pop, J. Fuller, N. Martinez, S. Figueroa Laz ´ u, J. Hong, T. Lewis, D. Calarese, J. Love, A. Vetere, S. Almo, S. L. Schreiber, A. N. Koehler “Inhibition of zinc-dependent histone deacetylases with a chemically triggered electrophile”, ACS Chemical Biology, 2016, 11, 1844–1851
  4. C. J. Gerry, B. K. Hua, M. J. Wawer, S. D. Nelson Jr., O. Verho, S. Dandapani, B. K. Wagner, P. A. Clemons, Z. V. Boskovic,* S. L. Schreiber* “Synthesis and real-time biological annotation of isomeric small-molecule triads”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2016, 138, 8920–8927, * - corresponding authors
  5. S. Haftchenary, S. D. Nelson Jr., L. Furst, S. Dandapani, S. Ferrara, Z. V. Boskovic, S. Figueroa Lazú, A. Guerrero, J. Serrano, D. Crews, C. Brackeen, J. Mowat, T. Brumby, M. Bauser, S. L. Schreiber, and A. J. Phillips “Efficient Routes to a Diverse Array of Amino Alcohol-Derived Chiral Fragments”, ACS Combinatorial Science, 2016, 18, 569–574.
  6. Z. Zhang, Z. Boskovic, M. Hussain, W. Hu, C. Inouye, H.-J. Kim, A. K. Abole, M. Doud, T. Lewis, A. N. Koehler, S. L. Schreiber, R. Tjian “Chemical Perturbation of an Intrinsically Disordered Region of TFIID Distinguishes Two Modes of Transcription Initiation”, eLife 2015;10.7554/eLife.07777
  7. B. H. Lipshutz, Z. Boskovic, C. S. Crowe, V. K. Davis, H. C. Whittemore, D. A. Vosburg, A. G. Wenzel “Green “Click” and Olefin Metathesis Chemistry in Water at Room Temperature Enabled by Biodegradable Micelles” J. Chem. Ed., 2013, 90, 1514-1517.
  8. Y. Yuan, K. Hartland, Z. V. Boskovic, Y. Wang, D. Walpita, P. A. Lysy, C. Zhong, D. W. Young, Y.-K. Kim, N. J. Tolliday, E. M. Sokal, S. L. Schreiber, and B. K. Wagner “Small molecule-mediated expression of PDX1 causes acquisition of beta cell-like characteristics in a human ductal cancer cell line” Chemistry and Biology, 2013, 20, 1513-1522.
  9. Z. V. Boskovic, M. M. Hussain, D. J. Adams, M. Dai, S. L. Schreiber “Synthesis of piperlogs and analysis of their effects on cells” Tetrahedron, 2013, 69, 7559–7567. Invited submission for special issue honoring Professor Paul Wender.
  10. D. J. Adams, Z. V. Boskovic, J. R. Theriault, A. J. Wang, A. M. Stern, B. K. Wagner, A. F. Shamji, and S. L. Schreiber “High-throughput screening identifies small-molecule enhancers of reactive oxygen species that are nontoxic or cause genotype-selective cell death” ACS Chem. Biol. 2013, 8, 923-929.
  11. R. Moser, Z. V. Boskovic, C. S. Crowe, B. H. Lipshutz “CuH-Catalyzed Enantioselective 1,2 Reductions of a,b-Unsaturated Ketones” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 7852–7853.
  12. B. H. Lipshutz, Z. V. Boskovic, D. H. Aue “Synthesis of Activated Alkenylboronates from Acetylenic Esters by CuH-Catalyzed 1,2-Addition/Transmetalation” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 10183–10186.
  13. B. H. Lipshutz, S. Ghorai, Z. V. Boskovic “Tandem olefin metathesis-elimination reactions. A new route to doubly unsaturated carbonyl derivatives” Tetrahedron, 2008, 64, 6949–6954.
  14. B. H. Lipshutz, D. M. Nihan, E. Vinogradova, B. R. Taft, Z. V. Boskovic “Copper + nickel-in-charcoal (Cu-Ni/C): A bimetallic, heterogeneous catalyst for cross-couplings” Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 4279–4282.
  15. B. A. Baker, Z. V. Boskovic, B. H. Lipshutz “(BDP)CuH: A Hot Stryker’s Reagent for Use in Achiral Conjugate Reductions” Org. Lett. 2008, 10, 289–292.
  16. Z. Boskovic, N. Radulovic, G. Stojanovic “Essential Oil Composition of Four Achillea Species from the Balkans and its Chemotaxonomic Significance” Chem. Nat. Compd., 2005, 41, 674–678.
  17. I. Gutman, G. Stojanovic, Z. Boskovic, N. Radulovic, P. Rasic “Comparing the Randic-Balaban and the Clar Models for Partitioning of pi-electrons in Rings of the Benzenoid Hydrocarbons: the Case of Phenes and Starphenes” Polycycl.Aromat. Comp., 2005, 25, 345–355.
  18. I. Gutman, B. Furtula, B. Arsic, Z. Boskovic “On the Relation between Zenkevich and Wiener Indices of Alkanes” J. Serb. Chem. Soc., 2004, 69, 265–271.

Reviews and Commentaries

  1. M. Dai, Z. Boskovic “Ruthenium Complex of N,N,N-Trimethyl-1,4,7-triazacyclononane and Ruthenium Complex of cis-Diaquabis (6,6-Dichloro-2,2-bipyridine) – First update”, e-EROS Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis.
  2. B. H. Lipshutz, Z. V. Boskovic “1,2-Bis(diphenylphosphino)benzenecopper Hydride [(BDP)CuH]” e-EROS Encyclopedia of Reagents for Organic Synthesis.
  3. B. H. Lipshutz, A. R. Abela, Z. V. Boskovic, T. Nishikata, C. Duplais, A. Krasovskiy “Greening Up Cross-coupling Reactions” Top. Catal. 2010, 53, 985–990.


  1. Compounds, Compositions, and Methods for Cancer Therapy, U.S. Patent No. 9,108,923; Filed: March 13, 2013, Approved: August 18, 2015
  2. Compositions and Methods for Treating Multiple Myeloma, U.S. Provisional Patent Application No.: 62/205,382

Awards & Honors

  • BroadNext10 Scientific Frontiers award ($40,000), 2016
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellowship, 2011
  • Dean’s Fellowship, University of California, Santa Barbara. 2010
  • Sam L. Nguyen Fellowship, 2009
  • Fellowship of the Government of Republic of Serbia, 2006

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2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
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4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
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$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
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Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU