Andrew Beharry

Andrew Beharry

Ph.D. | Associate Professor | Chemistry | Bioorganic Chemistry | Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Research Areas: 

Cancer Biology, Fluorescent Chemosensors, Photodynamic Therapy, Chemical Biology

Research Profile: 

Our research lies at the interface of chemistry and biology, with focus on constructing small molecule probes to understand and treat various types of cancers. We are interested in developing fluorescence-based assays that can rapidly and accurately predict anticancer drug resistance and aid in the discovery of novel inhibitors for cancer therapy. Some examples include enzymes involved in epigenetic, cell death inhibition and DNA repair pathways. We are also interested in developing cancer treatment platforms that do not share the same resistive mechanisms and long-term side effects as with current therapies. Specifically, our lab will develop enzyme-activatable photosensitizers that permit selective destruction and real-time imaging of cancer cells over normal cells. We will also engage in coupling photodynamic therapy with fluorescence-guided resection in order to reduce cancer recurrence post-surgery.

Courses Taught:

CHM242H5 and CHM362H5 (undergraduate); CHM1051H1 (graduate)



Digby, E.M., Ayan, S., Shrestha, P., Gehrmann, E. J., Winter, A.H. and Beharry, A.A* (2022). A Photocaged DNA binding Photosensitizer Enables Photocontrol of Nuclear Entry for Dual Targeted Photodynamic Therapy. J. Med. Chem., 2022, 65(24), 16679-16694.

Ozsan, O., Kailass, K., Digby, E.M., Almammadov, T., Beharry, A.A.* and Kolemen, S.* Selective Detection of Carboxylesterase 2 Activity in Cancer Cells using an Activity-based Chemiluminescent Probe. Chem.Commun., 2022, 58(78), 10929-10932

Digby, E. M., tung, M. T., Kagalwala, H. N., Ryan, L. S., Lippert, A. R., and Beharry, A.A. (2022) Dark Dynamic Therapy: Photosensitization without Light Excitation using Chemiluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer in a Dioxetane-Erythrosin B Conjugate. ACS Chem. Biol.,

Campbell, J. W., Tung, M. T., Diaz-Rodriguez, R. M., Robertson, K. N.,Beharry, A.A., and Thompson, A. (2021). Introducing the tellurophene-appended BODIPY: PDT agent with mass cytometry tracking capabilities. ACS Med. Chem. Lett., 12(12), 1925-1931.

Digby, E.M., Ma, T., Milstein, J.N., and Beharry, A.A. (2021). Photoinactivation of Bacteria using a Water-soluble, Cell Permeable, DNA-binding Photosensitizer. ACS Infect. Dis., 7(11), 3052, 3061.

Kaye, E. G., Kailass, K., Sadovski, O., and Beharry, A.A. (2021) A Green-absorbing, Red Fluorescent Phenalenone-based Photosensitizer as a Theranostic Agent for Photodynamic Therapy. ACS Med. Chem. Lett., 12(8), 1295-1301.

Digby, E.M., Sadovski, O. and Beharry, A.A. (2020) An Activatable Photosensitizer Targeting Human NAD(P)H: Quinone Oxidoreductase 1. Chem. Eur. J., 26, 2713 -2718.

Kailass, K., Sadovski, O., Capello, M., Kang, Y., Fleming, J.B., Hanash, S.M. and Beharry, A.A. (2019) Measuring Human Carboxylesterase 2 Activity in Pancreatic Cancer Patient-derived Xenografts using a Ratiometric Fluorescent Chemosensor, Chem. Sci., 10(36), 8428-8437.

Digby, E.M., Rana, R., Nitz, M. and Beharry, A.A. (2019) DNA Directed damage using a brominated DAPI Derivative, Chem.Commun., 55(67), 9971-9974.

Gharibi, N., Kailass, K., Beharry, A.A. (2019) Exploiting the Cellular Redox-Control System for Activatable Photodynamic Therapy, ChemBioChem., 20(3), 345-349.

Singh, K., Rotaru, A.M., Beharry, A.A. (2018) Fluorescent Chemosensors as Future Tools for Cancer Biology. ACS Chem. Biol., 13(7), 1785-1798.

Beharry, A.A. (2018) Next Generation Photodynamic Therapy: New Probes for Cancer Imaging and Treatment. Biochemistry, 57(2), 173-174.

Nagel Z.D., Beharry A.A., Mazzucato P., Kitange G.J., Sarkaria J.N., Kool E.T., Samson L.D. (2019) Fluorescent reporter assays provide direct, accurate, quantitative measurements of MGMT status in human cells. PLoS One, 14(2), e0208341. 

Wilson D.L., Beharry A.A., Srivastava A., O'Connor T.R., Kool E.T. (2018) Fluorescence Probes for ALKBH2 Allow the Measurement of DNA Alkylation Repair and Drug Resistance Responses. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 57(39), 12896-12900.

Tahara, Y.K., Auld, D., Ji, D., Beharry, A.A., Kietrys, A.M., Wilson, D.L., Jimenez, M., King, D., Nquyen, Z., Kool, E.T. (2018) Potent and Selective Inhibitors of 8-Oxoguanine DNA Glycosylase, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 140(6), 2105-2114.

Ji D., Beharry A.A., Ford J.M., Kool E.T. (2016). A Chimeric ATP-linked Nucleotide Enables Luminescence Signaling of Damage Surveillance by MTH1, a Cancer Target. J. Am. Chem. Soc.,138(29): 9005-9008.

Beharry A.A., Nagel Z.D., Samson L.D., Kool E.T. (2016). Fluorogenic Real-time Reporters of DNA Repair by MGMT, a Clinical Predictor of Antitumor drug Response. PLoS ONE. 11(4): e0152684.

Beharry A.A., Lacoste S, O’Connor TR, Kool ET. (2016). Fluorescence Monitoring of the Oxidative Repair of DNA Alkylation by ALKBH3, a Prostate Cancer Marker. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 138(11): 3647- 3650.

Dong, M., Babalhavaeji, A., Samanta, S., Beharry, A.A., and Woolley, G.A. (2015) Red-shifting azobenzene photoswitches for in vivo use. Acc. Chem. Res., 48(10), 2662-2670.