Skip to content Skip to navigation

Drug Design Lab

Virtual Drug Design

Drug design refers to the inventive process of creating new compounds and medications based on our knowledge of a biological target. Often, this biological target is a protein that may be inhibited to provide a therapeutic effect. A detailed understanding of a protein’s structure and function is often required in the design of novel inhibitors. The Mahajan laboratory utilizes virtual, or computer-aided, drug design methods to model new compounds that are complementary to a target protein’s shape and charge. These virtually-designed lead-like compounds are then synthesized in collaboration with Stanford’s Medicinal Chemistry Knowledge Center (MCKC) for biochemical and cellular testing.


Drug Repositioning

The development of new drugs can cost upward of a billion dollars and take over a decade before the drug reaches the market. Drug repositioning makes use of existing drugs for the treatment of diseases where there are few therapeutic options. This approach can provide a safer alternative to the development of new compounds, since repurposed drugs are already FDA-approved, have proven bio-availabilities, and well-characterized side-effect profiles. To identify which drugs to reposition, our laboratory performs proteomic analyses of liquid biopsies (e.g. vitreous or aqueous humor) from diseased patients to identify drug targets and biomarkers. This approach allows for rapid, real-time repositioning of available drugs to patients with few therapeutic options. 


Structure-based drug design for inherited eye diseases.
Identifying available drugs to treat patients with rare diseases using proteomics.


May 20 2022 | Posted In: 20/20 Blog
Palo Alto — Richard Phan, a Mahajan Lab team member, received a Major Grant from
Dec 10 2021 | Posted In: 20/20 Blog
Palo Alto, CA — In the operating room and clinic, Vinit Mahajan M.D., Ph.D., Stanford Ophthalmology vice chair for research and ChEM-H fellow, uses ocular drug implants (ODIs) to safely deliver steroids into the eye to treat a range of eye di
Nov 11 2021 | Posted In: 20/20 Blog
Palo Alto, CA —News outlets, fitness magazines, and health bloggers churn out hundreds of articles on the health benefits of exercise. And most people can tell you that exercise is an important factor in warding off heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and depression.
Sep 30 2021 | Posted In: 20/20 Blog
Jul 6 2021 | Posted In: 20/20 Blog
Palo Alto, CA – As genetic testing and molecular biomarkers open new avenues for medical care, researchers are more reliant on samples from human subjects than ever.


Intravitreal methotrexate and fluocinolone acetonide implantation for Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada uveitis., Park, Jong G., Callaway Natalia F., Ludwig Cassie A., and Mahajan Vinit B. , Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep, 2020 Sep, Volume 19, p.100859, (2020)
Modulation of Post-Traumatic Immune Response Using the IL-1 Receptor Antagonist Anakinra for Improved Visual Outcomes., Evans, Lucy P., Woll Addison W., Wu Shu, Todd Brittany P., Hehr Nicole, Hedberg-Buenz Adam, Anderson Michael G., Newell Elizabeth A., Ferguson Polly J., Mahajan Vinit B., et al. , J Neurotrauma, 2020 Mar 16, (2020)
Metabolite therapy guided by liquid biopsy proteomics delays retinal neurodegeneration., Wert, Katherine J., Velez Gabriel, Kanchustambham Vijaya L., Shankar Vishnu, Evans Lucy P., Sengillo Jesse D., Zare Richard N., Bassuk Alexander G., Tsang Stephen H., and Mahajan Vinit B. , EBioMedicine, 2020 Feb 03, Volume 52, p.102636, (2020)
Translation of CRISPR Genome Surgery to the Bedside for Retinal Diseases., Xu, Christine L., Cho Galaxy Y., Sengillo Jesse D., Park Karen S., Mahajan Vinit B., and Tsang Stephen H. , Front Cell Dev Biol, 2018, Volume 6, p.46, (2018)
Bevacizumab injection in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration increases angiogenic biomarkers, Cabral, Thiago, Lima Luiz H., Mello Luiz Guilherme, Polido Júlia, Correa Éverton P., Oshima Akiyoshi, Duong Jimmy, Serracarbassa Pedro, Regatieri Caio V., Mahajan Vinit B., et al. , Ophthalmology Retina, Volume 2, p.31–37, (2018)
Ocular hypertension after intravitreal dexamethasone (Ozurdex) sustained-release implant, Chin, Eric K., Almeida David R. P., Velez Gabriel, Xu Kunyong, Peraire Maria, Corbella Maria, Elshatory Yasser M., Kwon Young H., Gehrs Karen M., H Boldt Culver, et al. , Retina, Volume 37, p.1345–1351, (2017)