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College of Pharmacy

Faculty and Staff

Michael D. Wyatt, Ph.D.

Title: Chair, Department of Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences
Department: Drug Discovery & Biomedical Sciences (DDBS)
College of Pharmacy
Phone: 803-777-0856
Office: College of Pharmacy
715 Sumter Street - CLS 609
Columbia, SC 29208
Michael Wyatt portrait


Ph.D.  Molecular Pharmacology, University College London, 1996
M.S.  Chemistry, Furman University, 1992
B.S.  Chemistry, Furman University, 1991

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard School of Public Health, 1996-1999


Michael Wyatt Ph.D., serves as Chair of the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy. He received his B.S. and M.S. in chemistry from Furman University with Professor Moses Lee and completed his PhD in the Department of Oncology at University College, London, School of Medicine, with Professor John Hartley. Wyatt completed an NIH individual postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Professor Leona Samson in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Toxicology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston before joining the University of South Carolina in 1999.

Dr. Wyatt has been nearly continuously funded by NIH research grants as PI or co-PI since arriving at USC. He has published over 70 papers. Throughout many collaborations, his research is centered on his fascination with molecular pharmacology, namely elucidating how drugs, carcinogens, nanoparticles, etc. produce medicinal/biological effects. This fascination has defined his research interests, his passion for teaching pharmaceutical sciences in the college of pharmacy, and his eagerness to train undergraduates and graduate students in research. He is the currently the chair of the Department of Drug Discovery and Biomedical Sciences. 

Research Interests

  • Small molecule/Drug mechanism of action
  • DNA repair 
  • Drug discovery
  • Cancer research

Research Lab

The Wyatt laboratory utilizes biochemical and cellular techniques to determine the mechanism of action for small molecules, carcinogens, nanoparticles, and drugs. Collaborative projects include structure guided approaches for drug and chemical probe discovery, pharmacogenetics-based studies of approved drugs to better personalize drug therapies for individual patients and their tumors, and mechanism of action studies for small molecules discovered by artificial intelligence for repurposing as neuroprotective agents. 

Awards & Honors

  • NRSA Individual Fellowship Award, NIH/NCI, F32 CA73135
  • “Transition to Independent Positions” Award, NIH/NIEHS, K22 ES00333     
  • Distinguished Research Service Award, University of South Carolina, 2019
  • Professor of the Year, USC College of Pharmacy, 2024
  • Best Professor - College of Pharmacy, Best of Carolina Awards, 2024
  • P1 Teacher of the Year, USC College of Pharmacy, 2023, 2019, 2018
  • Member, Phi Lambda Sigma, Pharmacy Leadership Society, 2017
  • “Extra Mile” Award, South Carolina College of Pharmacy, 2015


Chapagai, D., Ramamoorthy, G., Varghese, J., Nurmemmedov, E., McInnes, C.*, Wyatt M.D.* (2021). Non-peptidic, Polo Box Domain-targeted inhibitors of PLK1 block kinase activity, induce its degradation and target resistant cells.  Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.  64, 9916-9925.  PMID: 34210138. 

Craig, S., Baxter, M., Chapagai, D., Nurmemmedov, E., Altomare, D., Wyatt, M.D.*, McInnes, C.* (2021). Structure-Activity and Mechanistic Studies of Non-peptidic inhibitors of the PLK1 Polo Box Domain identified through REPLACE. In Press. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.  Oct 21;227:113926. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2021.113926. PMD 34735919

Cui, B.C., Sikirzhytski V., Aksenova, M., Lucius, M.D., Levon, G., Mack, Z.T., Pollack, C., Odhiambo, D., Broude, E., Lizarraga, S.B., Wyatt, M.D., Shtutman, M. (2020). Pharmacological inhibition of DEAD-Box RNA Helicase 3 attenuates stress granule assembly.  Biochemical Pharmacology, 182, 114280. doi: 10.1016/j.bcp.2020.114280. PMC7686075.

LeBegue, C., Love, B.L. Wyatt M.D.* (2020). Microbes as Drugs: The Potential of Pharmabiotics. Pharmacotherapy. 40 (2), p. 102-106. doi: 10.1002/phar.2357. PMID: 31863487.   

Baxter, M., Chapagai, D., Craig, S., Hurtado, C., Varghese, J., Nurmemmedov, E., Wyatt, M.D.*, McInnes, C.* (2020). Peptidomimetic Polo-Box targeted inhibitors that engage PLK1 in tumor cells and are selective against the PLK3 tumor suppressor. ChemMedChem. 15(12):1058-1066.   PMID: 32232973

Chaparala, A. Poudyal, D., Tashkandi, H., Witalison, E., Chumanevich, A. Hofseth, J., Nguyen, I., Hardy, O., Pittman, D., Wyatt, M.D., Windust, A, Murphy, E, Nagarkatti, M, Nagarkatti, P.S.,  Hofseth, L. (2020). Panaxynol, a bioactive component of American ginseng, targets macrophages and suppresses colitis in mice. Oncotarget.  11(22):2026-2036. PMC7275787.

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