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Dr. Kit Lam

Dr. Kit LamDr. Kit Lam was born in Hong Kong, obtained his B.A. in Microbiology in 1975 at the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a Robert A Welch Undergraduate Research Fellowship in 1974-75. He obtained his Ph.D. in Oncology in 1980 from McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin, and his M.D. in 1984 from Stanford University School of Medicine. He completed his Internal Medicine residency training and Medical Oncology Fellowship training at the University of Arizona. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology. He was on the faculty of the University of Arizona until June 1999, when he joined UC Davis School of Medicine as the Division Chief of Hematology/Oncology, a position he continues to hold today. He is both a practicing medical oncologist and a laboratory investigator. Dr. Lam is recognized as one of the three pioneers (in addition to Mario Geysen and Richard Houghten) who started the field of synthetic combinatorial chemistry in the late 1980s and early 1990s.


His expertise is on the development and application of combinatorial chemistry and other chemical methods to solve biomedical problems. Dr. Kit Lam conceived the “one-bead-one-compound” (OBOC) concept to generate huge chemical libraries. With the help of his mentor, the late Dr. Sidney Salmon (Director of the Arizona Cancer Center) and other colleagues at the University of Arizona, he was able to reduce the OBOC combinatorial library method to practice, filed the patent, and published the technique in Nature in 1991. This represents one of the first few reports in the new field of combinatorial chemistry at the time. Since then, the field of combinatorial chemistry has rapidly evolved into a new chemistry discipline, and four scientific journals are now devoted to this field (J of Combinatorial Chemistry, Combinatorial Chemistry and Highthroughput Screening, Molecular Diversity, and QSAR Combinatorial Science). Combinatorial chemistry has become an indispensable tool in drug development andchemical research. The OBOC combinatorial library approach is unique and truly an ultra-high throughput method, as thousands to millions of chemical compounds (peptides, peptidomimetics, small molecules, and macrocyclic natural product like molecules) can be efficiently synthesized and screened in parallel in a relatively short time. Many investigators around the world have successfully applied the OBOC methods to their research, ranging from basic research to drug discovery to biosensor to catalysis to material science.  Since its publication in 1991, the Lam paper on OBOC method has been cited over a 1,100 times.  


Members of Dr. Lam’s group include: Nasir Al-Awaad, Lorenzo Berti, Urvashi Bhardwaj, Chou-Yu ‘Joy’ Chen, Florin Despa, Gabriel Fung, Yuanpei Li, Pappanaicken Kumaresan, Ruiwu ‘Ray’ Liu, Juntao Luo, Anthony Maida, Devin McNally, Liping Meng, David Olivos, Ekama Onofiok, Mary Saunders, Jared Townsend, Don-Hong Wang, Yan Wang, Zhaoju ‘Daisy’ Wu, Chun-Yi ‘Jimmy’ Wu, Kai Xiao, Wenwu Xiao, and Nianhuan Yao. (


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Selected Publications (5/235):

1.    Lam KS, Salmon SE, Hersh EM, Hruby V, Kazmierski WM, Knapp RJ: A new type of synthetic peptide library for identifying ligand-binding activity. Nature 354(7):82-84, 1991 (Seminal paper that first described the one-bead one-compound combinatorial library method;it has been cited over 1100 times).

2.    Sun YS, Landry JP, Fei YY, Zhu XD, Luo JT, Wang XB, Lam KS. Macromolecular scaffolds for immobilizing small molecule microarrays in label-free detection of protein-ligand interactions on solid support. Anal Chem, 81: 5373-5380, 2009.

3.    Yao N, Xiao W, Wang X, Marik J, Park SH, Takada Y, Lam KS. Discovery of targeting ligands for breast cancer cells using the one-bead one-compound combinatorial method. J Med Chem 52: 126-133, 2009.

4.    Saegusa J, Yamaji S, Ieguchi K, Wu CY, Lam KS, Liu FT, Takada YK, Takada Y. The direct binding of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) to integrin alphaVbeta3 is involved in IGF-1 signaling. J Biol Chem. 2009.

5.    Xiao K, Luo J, Fowler W, Li Y, Lee JS, Xing L, Cheng RH, Wang L and Lam KS. A self-assembling nanoparticle for paclitaxel delivery in ovarian cancer. Biomaterial 30:6006-6016, 2009.


Patents and Patents Pending

UC Case #      Title

2004-325-0      Ligands for Alpha-4-Beta-1 Integrin

2001-150-0      Novel Method for Screening Combinatorial Libraries

2006-483-0      Chemical Antibodies for Immunotherapy

2009-700-0      Three-Dimensional Cell Adhesion Matrix

2009-506-0      A New Class of Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Agents

2009-219-0      Small Molecule Inhibitors of P21

2008-120-0      Small Molecule Inhibitors of AbO

2001-490-0      Epithelial Cancer Ligands and Assays

2008-640-0      A Novel Compound that Activates the Antioxidant Response Element


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