Webster Santos, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, has been reappointed as the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellow by Virginia Tech President Tim Sands.

Agnes Lilly established the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellowship to provide annual support to outstanding faculty involved with the Institute for Advanced Study in the College of Science. The Lilly Fellowship appointment is for three years.

Santos has held the Cliff and Agnes Lilly Faculty Fellowship since 2014.

A member of the Virginia Tech faculty since 2006, Santos is a member of the Virginia Tech Center for Drug Discovery and the Virginia Drug Discovery Consortium, and is an expert medicinal chemist whose research focuses on compounds with new modes of action to treat kidney fibrosis, fatty liver disease, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury, stroke, and aging.

Santos is working to develop a drug that increases metabolism without exercise, a program that has implications in obesity and diabetes. His research is supported by the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, among other foundations. He has 13 issued and pending patents, serves on the editorial board of Medicinal Research Reviews and Current Medicinal Chemistry, and has more than 65 published papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Research from his laboratories has resulted in two spin-off companies: SphynKx Therapeutics LLC and Continuum Biosciences Inc.

His laboratory has graduated 16 doctoral and master’s students who are now working both in academia and industry. His current team of 15 organic chemists include postdoctoral fellows as well as graduate and undergraduate students working in sustainable synthetic chemistry methods, chemical biology of targeting RNA, and drug discovery.

He previously has received an Innovator Award and John C. Schug Research Award from Virginia Tech.

Santos earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. His 2002 to 2006 postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University was funded by a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.

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