Barry R. O'Keefe, Ph.D.

Barry R. O'Keefe, Ph.D.
Head, Protein Chemistry and Molecular Biology Section
Chief, Natural Products Branch, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, NCI
Senior Scientist

Dr. O’Keefe is an expert in the screening of natural product extracts and the discovery of novel bioactive compounds. He has pioneered the discovery of biotherapeutics from natural products, especially in the area of antiviral proteins. He also specializes in the analysis and exploitation of protein-ligand interactions for both high-throughput screening and compound characterization.

As Director of the Molecular Targets Program and Chief of the Natural Products Branch, Dr. O’Keefe is integral in the NCI’s drug discovery efforts from natural product extracts.

Areas of Expertise

1) natural products, 2) protein chemistry, 3) antiviral proteins, 4) biochemistry, 5) anti-cancer and anti-viral high-throughput screening, 6) drug discovery

Contact Info

Barry R. O'Keefe, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 576, Room 101
Frederick, MD 21702-1201
Ph: 301-846-5332

Our research efforts are generally split into two study areas: 1) cell-free assay development and identification of active compounds from chemical and natural product libraries, and 2) the isolation and characterization of antiviral proteins from natural product extracts. In the first, our goals are to understand and define specific protein-ligand interactions and use that knowledge to adapt laboratory findings into both high-throughput screens and potential therapeutic discoveries. In the second, we carry out independent research on the discovery and characterization of novel antiviral proteins from natural products extracts. This research is necessarily multidisciplinary and collaborative both within the Molecular Targets Program, as well as the NCI, the NIH and with extramural collaborators interested in our scientific discoveries. Our group uses its expertise in protein chemistry, enzymology, molecular biology, natural products research and assay development to identify, isolate and biochemically characterize new bioactive moieties.

Selected Publications

  1. O'Keefe BR.
    J Nat Prod. 64: 1373-81, 2001. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Mori T, O'Keefe BR, Sowder RC, Bringans S, Gardella R, Berg S, Cochran P, Turpin JA, Buckheit RW, McMahon JB, Boyd MR.
    J Biol Chem. 280: 9345-53, 2005. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Sasiela CA, Stewart DH, Kitagaki J, Safiran YJ, Yang Y, Weissman AM, Oberoi P, Davydov IV, Goncharova E, Beutler JA, McMahon JB, O'Keefe BR.
    J Biomol Screen. 13: 229-37, 2008. [ Journal Article ]
  4. O'Keefe BR, Vojdani F, Buffa V, Shattock RJ, Montefiori DC, Bakke J, Mirsalis J, d'Andrea AL, Hume SD, Bratcher B, Saucedo CJ, McMahon JB, Pogue GP, Palmer KE.
    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 106: 6099-104, 2009. [ Journal Article ]
  5. O'Keefe BR, Giomarelli B, Barnard DL, Shenoy SR, Chan PK, McMahon JB, Palmer KE, Barnett BW, Meyerholz DK, Wohlford-Lenane CL, McCray PB.
    J. Virol.. 84: 2511-21, 2010. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. O'Keefe earned a Bachelor of Science degree in botany from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 1994 Dr. O'Keefe joined the NCI Laboratory of Drug Discovery Research and Development to study novel proteins from natural products extracts. Dr. O'Keefe is currently Director of the Molecular Targets Program and Head of the Protein Chemistry and Molecular Biology Section. Dr. O'Keefe is also Chief of the Natural Products Branch, Developmental Therapeutics Program, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, NCI.

Position Keywords Contact Name Contact E-mail Number of Positions
Staff Scientist - natural products, immunology

natural products, immunology, immunotherapy

Julie Russell 1
Name Position
Tadeusz Guszczynski Ph.D. Biologist
Lauren R. Haugh Krumpe M.S. Research Associate II (Leidos)
Carter Mitchell Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (CRTA)
Shilpa Shenoy Kurian Ph.D. Scientist II (Leidos)
Brice Wilson Ph.D. Research Fellow