Meet the Scholars

Updated: June 12, 2015

Aleksandar Antanasijevic

Aleksandar Antanasijevic

CBC Scholar: Class of 2014
PhD Candidate, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago
Advisor: Michael Caffrey


In Caffrey lab we use a variety of structural, biophysical and microbiology approaches to investigate the way enveloped viruses, like Influenza, HIV, Ebola, SARS and MERS enter cells and achieve their malicious effects. The main focus of our work is towards identifying attractive drug targets on the viral surface and developing inhibitors that can interact with them in a highly specific manner and block viral entry, the first step in virus infection. The leading method used in the research is nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). NMR has been known for decades as a very versatile tool for investigating protein structure and dynamics. However, in the past couple of years the scientific community is starting to appreciate another very important side of it – the application in drug design and development. It is exactly this aspect that we are particularly interested in. After identifying potential weak points on the viral protein target we use a combination of approaches with NMR as the main one to navigate the inhibitor development process. We hope that with enough devotion, diligence and luck some of these compounds might get a chance to contribute to human health.


Nomme J, Antanasijevic A, Caffrey M, Van Itallie CM, Anderson JM, Fanning AS, Lavie A. Structural basis of a key factor regulating the affinity between the zonula occludens first PDZ domain and claudins. J Biol Chem. 2015 Jul 3;290(27):16595-606. (PubMed)

Antanasijevic A, Basu A, Bowlin TL, Mishra RK, Rong L, Caffrey M. Mutagenesis Studies of the H5 Influenza Hemagglutinin Stem Loop Region. J Biol Chem. 2014 Aug 8;289(32):22237-45. (PubMed)

Antanasijevic A, Ramirez B, Caffrey M. Comparison of the sensitivities of WaterLOGSY and saturation transfer difference NMR experiments. J Biomol NMR. 2014 Sep;60(1):37-44. (PubMed)

Ratia, Light S, Antanasijevic A, Anderson WF, Caffrey M, Lavie A. Discovery of selective inhibitors of the Clostridium difficile dehydroquinate dehydratase. PLoS ONE. 2014 9(2): e89356. (PLoS ONE)

Light SH, Antanasijevic A, Krishna SN, Caffrey M, Anderson WF, Lavie A. Crystal structures of type I dehydroquinate dehydratase in complex with quinate and shikimate suggest a novel mechanism of schiff base formation. Biochemistry. 2014 Feb 11;53(5):872-80. (PubMed)

Basu A, Antanasijevic A, Wang M, Li B, Mills DM, Ames JA, Nash PJ, Williams JD, Peet NP, Moir DT, Prichard MN, Keith KA, Barnard DL, Caffrey M, Rong L, Bowlin TL. New small molecule entry inhibitors targeting hemagglutinin-mediated influenza a virus fusion. J Virol. 2014 Feb;88(3):1447-60. (PubMed)

Ramirez B, Antanasijevic A, Caffrey M. Ligand screening using NMR. In: Structural Genomics and Drug Discovery. Methods and Protocols. Series: Methods in Molecular Biology, Vol. 1140. Anderson, Wayne F. (Ed.) 2014, XII, 344 p. Humana Press. (

Antanasijevic A, Cheng H, Wardrop DJ, Rong L, Caffrey M. Inhibition of influenza H7 hemagglutinin-mediated entry. PLoS One. 2013 Oct 23;8(10):e76363. (PubMed)


  • Baxter Young Investigator Award – 2nd tier, Baxter International Inc., 2014
  • Pavle Savic Award for outstanding success during the undergraduate studies, University of Belgrade (Belgrade, Serbia), 2014
  • Dean’s Scholar Award, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), 2014
  • Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) Scholar, 2014-2015
  • The best scientific poster award on the 6th annual Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (UIC) retreat, Lake Geneva, 2013


  • 13th International School of Biological Magnetic Resonance in Erice, Sicily (July 31-Aug 9, 2014)


  • Served as vice-president of the Student Science Research Center (CNIRS) at the Faculty of Physical Chemistry (University of Belgrade, Serbia), 2010


  • BMS 648 – Medical BIochemistry and Nutrition (College of Medicine, UIC) – Teaching assistant, Fall 2013