School of Pharmacy
The University of Mississippi

Dr. Robert J. Doerksen

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by
Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
209 Graduate House/Faser Hall 403A


  • Ph.D. University of New Brunswick
  • B.S. University of New Brunswick


  • Associate Dean of the Graduate School
  • Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
  • Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences


My major area of research is computational medicinal chemistry. The weight of human disease is so burdensome that there is pressing need for the kinds of research we have pursued or are currently attempting for new approaches to drug discovery for tuberculosis, cancer, malaria, hepatitis B and other liver diseases, pain, addiction, and Alzheimer’s disease. My research projects focus on computational and theoretical approaches to chemical problems having to do with the structure and interactions of molecules. We apply the laws of physics to molecules using computer hardware and software that has been developed to allow for sufficiently accurate results to be obtained to provide useful solutions to a wide range of challenges in medicinal chemistry, natural products, and drug delivery. We use docking, molecular dynamics, and ab initio calculations of various kinds for computational glycoscience, protein modeling, protein-ligand interactions, drug design and discovery, and natural product characterization. We frequently collaborate with other research groups. 

Career Highlights:

Robert J. Doerksen was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and spent time growing up in Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada; and Cambridge, England, UK. He obtained a Double First Class Honours Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Physics from University of New Brunswick (UNB), a graduate level Diploma in Christian Studies from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a PhD in Chemistry from UNB, under the guidance of Prof. Ajit Thakkar, specializing in computational physical chemistry. He proceeded to postdoctoral fellowships in the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, with Prof. Martin Head-Gordon, and in the Department of Chemistry at University of Pennsylvania (Philadephia, PA, USA), with Prof. Michael Klein. Since 2004, he has been at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS, USA, first as an assistant professor in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, then as an associate professor, and currently as a professor of medicinal chemistry in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences. Doerksen also is a research professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the School of Pharmacy. He is Director of the GlyCORE Computational Chemistry and Bioinformatics Research CORE (CCBRC). In 2017, he was appointed as Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

Dr. Doerksen’s list of publications can be found in his Google Scholar entry: Dr. Doerksen Publications