Logo for University of Iowa Health Care This logo represents the University of Iowa Health Care

Robert Kerns, PhD

Contact Information

Office: S321 PHAR 
Phone: 319-335-8800 
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research:

Dr. Kerns’ medicinal chemistry research group is involved in numerous interdisciplinary, translational research projects focused on the design and synthesis of novel bioactive small molecules, including ongoing projects optimizing lead structures as chemical probes to validate new drug targets and as potential new therapeutics for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and drug-resistant infectious diseases. His primary research in the area of diabetes and obesity has focused on the effects of mitochondrial-targeted antioxidant conjugates and developing novel molecular conjugates that allow for controlling the uptake of bioactive molecules into mitochondria.

3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Fink, B.D.; Herlein, J.A.; Yorek, M.A.; Fenner, A.M.; Kerns, R.J.; Sivitz, W.I. Bioenergetic Effects of Mitochondrial-Targeted Coenzyme Q Analogs in Endothelial Cells. J. Pharmacol. Exper. Ther. 2012, 342(3) 709-719.
  • Fink, B.D.; Herlein, J.A.; Guo, D.F.; Kulkarni, C.; Weidemann, B.J.; Yu, L.; Grobe, J.L.; Rahmouni, K.; Kerns, R.J.; and Sivitz, W.I. A Mitochondrial-Targeted Coenzyme Q Analog Prevents Weight Gain and Ameliorates Hepatic Dysfunction in High Fat-Fed Mice. J. Pharmacol. Exper. Ther. 2014 351(3) 699-708.
  • Fink, B.D.; Guo, D.F.; Kulkarni, C.A.; Rahmouni, K.; Kerns, R.J.; and Sivitz, W.I. Metabolic Effects of a Mitochondrial-Targeted Coenzyme Q Analog in High Fat Fed Obese Mice. Pharmacol. Res. Perspect. 2017, 5(2) 1-5. PMCID: PMC5368965