Darren Derksen

Dr. Darren Derksen



Associate Head (Research)

Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry

Full Member

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Child Health & Wellness Researcher

Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

Full Member

Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute

Contact information

Phone number

Office: 403.220.2610


Educational Background

B.S. Organic Chemistry, University of Alberta, 2003

Doctor of Philosophy Organic Chemistry, University of Alberta, 2008


Areas of Research

Area of Focus
  • Novel Therapeutics and Medicinal Chemistry
Summary of Research

Dr. Derksen's research is in the area of synthetic organic chemistry that is applied to the preparation of biologically active compounds. Natural products are a diverse group of compounds that provide valuable lead structures for therapeutic development. Often present in only trace amounts from natural sources, synthetic chemistry provides a practical way of generating useful quantities of these materials to allow rigorous examination of their biological activities and furthering the understanding of the molecular interactions involved in eliciting the desired response. Frequently, systematic study of a natural product reveals that only a specific portion is required to produce the desired effect and synthetic chemistry provides a means of preparing these truncated or modified natural product analogs.

The Derksen research group is focused on the study of natural products that are relevant to cancer, particularly those occurring in the brain. Our research team is highly multidisciplinary, but with a strong emphasis on organic chemistry. We aim to identify natural product analogs that can be synthesized in a practical, environmentally friendly, and scalable manner while demonstrating high selectivity for their target receptors.


Course number Course title Semester
CHEM 351 LEC 01 01 Organic Chemistry I 2020
CHEM 59921 LEC 01 01 Selected Topics in Chemistry 2021
CHEM 65927 LEC 01 01 Sel Topics in Organic CHEM 2021


  • 2020 GSA Excellence in Supervision Award, University of Calgary Graduate Student's Association. 2021