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Faculty Profile - Francis Umesiri

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Francis Umesiri, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Chemistry

On Faculty since 2018



francis.umesiri@wheaton.edu

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With a commitment to servant leadership and social entrepreneurship, Dr. Umesiri's academic and publishing interests are decidedly influenced by a growing faith in Christ, and shaped by many years of service in Christian ministry. His newest book, Fasting for Life: Medical Proof Fasting Reduces Risk of Heart Disease, Cancer, and Diabetes, is now available at bookstores nationwide, including amazon.com. Fasting for Life is a scientific review of health benefits of caloric restriction spanning over 75-years of bio-medical research. Dr. Umesiri's research interest as a professor and scientist revolves around Organic Medicinal Chemistry. Work in his laboratory is focused on the design, synthesis and biological evaluation of new chemical agents (drugs). His laboratory is also active in mentoring students in pre-clinical drug development efforts and literature publications. When he am not busy teaching and working with students, he manages the editorial office of Kharis Publishing. As an independent publishing house, Kharis Publishing is dedicated to giving voice to underrepresented authors, and empowering vulnerable children (orphans in particular) through literacy initiatives.

University of Toledo
Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, 2010

Central Michigan University
M.S., Chemistry

  • Organic Synthesis
  • Chemistry
  • Research
  • American Chemical Society : Member
  • American Medical Writers Association : Member

JBU Professor's Publishing House Supports Minority Writers, Orphanage
JBU Now (News & Information)

Dr. Francis Umesiri, John Brown University's assistant professor of chemistry, believes in the power of books. "One encounter with a good book has the potential to change your life," said Umesiri.
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These 5 Steps Will Balance Prayer and Fasting in Your Life
Charisma News

Many churches and individuals engage in seasons of fasting and prayer. It doesn't matter whether you are fasting for a couple of days, or doing a Daniel fast that lasts for a few weeks, the following steps will help balance your praying and fasting season and increase the likelihood you are getting the benefits this discipline offers:
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Tissue hypoxia during ischemic stroke: adaptive clues from hypoxia-tolerant animal models., Brain Research Bulletin
Nathaniel TI, Williams-Hernandez A, Hunter AL, Liddy C, Peffley DM, Umesiri FE, Imeh-Nathaniel A., 2015
The treatment and prevention of hypoxic/ischemic brain injury in stroke patients remain a severe and global medical issue. Numerous clinical studies have resulted in a failure to develop chemical neuroprotection for acute, ischemic stroke. Over 150 estimated clinical trials of ischemic stroke treatments have been done, and more than 200 drugs and combinations of drugs for ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes have been developed. Billions of dollars have been invested for new scientific breakthroughs with only limited success.
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Recent advances toward the inhibition of mAG and LAM synthesis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis., Medicinal Research Reviews
Umesiri FE, Sanki AK, Boucau J, Ronning DR, Sucheck SJ., 2010
Drug-resistant forms of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) are increasing worldwide, underscoring the need to develop new drugs to treat the disease. One of the factors that make tuberculosis difficult to treat is the unique architecture of the mycobacterial cell wall. In this review, we catalogue the enzymes involved in the synthesis of the mycolylarabinogalactan (mAG), a key structural component of the mycobacterial cell wall. In addition, we review the enzymes required for the synthesis of the related lipoarabinomannan (LAM), a structure that possesses immunomodulatory properties. The integrity of the mAG and LAM is critical to the viability of mycobacteria, and many of the established antimycobacterial agents target enzymes critical to the synthesis of the mAG and LAM. Recently, new enzymes catalyzing synthetic steps in the synthesis of the mAG and LAM have been characterized and their substrate specificity determined. In this report, we review recent efforts to characterize the enzymes involved in mAG and LAM synthesis and describe the compounds used to inhibit the enzymes or characterize their catalytic activity.
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Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of sugar-derived esters, alpha-ketoesters and alpha-ketoamides as inhibitors for Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 85C., Molecular bioSystems
Sanki AK, Boucau J, Umesiri FE, Ronning DR, Sucheck SJ., 2009
Peptide-based 1,2-dicarbonyl compounds have emerged as potent inhibitors for serine proteases. Herein, we have designed and synthesized d-arabinose and d-trehalose-based esters, alpha-ketoesters and alpha-ketoamides, and evaluated their inhibitory activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) antigen 85C (ag85C), an acyltransferase in the serine hydrolase superfamily. In addition the compounds were evaluated for the ability to inhibit the growth of Mycobacterium smegmatis ATCC 14 468, a non-pathogenic surrogate for Mtb. Among the synthetic analogs evaluated only the methyl ester derived from d-arabinose was found to inhibit the acyltransferase activity of ag85C (IC(50) = 25 mM). Based on this weak inhibitory activity it was not surprising that none of the compounds inhibits the growth of M. smegmatis. In spite of the weak inhibitory activity of , X-ray crystallography on crystals of ag85C soaked with suggested the formation of a covalent ester adduct between and the Ser124 side chain hydroxyl moiety found within the catalytic site of ag85C; however, some of the active site electron density appears to result from bound glycerol. The lack of activity associated with the alpha-ketoester and alpha-ketoamide derivatives of d-trehalose may be the result of intramolecular cyclization of the alpha-keto moiety with the nearby C-4/4' hydroxyls leading to the formation of stable bicyclo-ester and amide derivatives.
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