Michael Ferracane

Assistant Professor

Michael Ferracane

Areas of Expertise

  • Design and synthesis of cyclic peptide-based modulators of the opioid receptors
  • Analysis of peptide structure using NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and molecular modeling
  • Incorporation of active teaching techniques in the chemistry curriculum


Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of Virginia, 2014


B.S., Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Arizona, 2008

For the Media

Contact :
Media Relations


Chemistry, Hedco Hall
P: 909.307.7818
P: 909.748.8370
E: Michael_Ferracane@redlands.edu

Background & Research Interests

I am a computational and synthetic organic chemist by training. In the past, my research has focused on developing novel small molecules and peptides intended to modulate the activity of the sphingosine 1-phosphate and opioid receptors. These receptor families are important targets for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and pain respectively.

At University of Redlands, I am using computational, synthetic, and spectroscopic methods to investigate the structure and activity of different peptides. I primarily study cyclic tetrapeptides, a unique molecular scaffold that has shown promise for the treatment of pain, addiction, and cancer. I am also involved in collaborative work that investigates the structure and behavior of glycopeptides. Combined, this research contributes new knowledge to the field while providing students interested in the chemical or health sciences with a meaningful research experience.

Professional Experience

·       Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Redlands

·       Post-Doctoral Associate, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Florida

Courses Offered

  • CHEM 132 - General Chemistry II Lecture and Laboratory
  • CHEM 231 - Organic Chemistry I Lecture and Lab
  • CHEM 232 - Organic Chemistry II Lecture and Lab
  • CHEM 320 - Biochemistry Lecture and Laboratory


  • Haurat, M.; Scott, N.; Di Venanzio, G.; Lopez, J.; Pluvinage, B.; Boraston, A.; Ferracane, M.; Feldman, M. The glycoprotease CpaA secreted by medically relevant Acinetobacter species targets multiple O-linked host glycoproteins. mBio 2020, 11, e02033-20 https://doi.org/10.1128/mBio.02033-20
  • Brice-Tutt, A.; Wilson, L.; Eans, S.; Stacy, H.; Simons, C.; Simpson, G.; Coleman, J.; Ferracane, M.; Aldrich, J.; McLaughlin, J. Multifunctional Opioid Receptor Agonism and Antagonism by a Novel Macrocyclic Tetrapeptide Prevents Reinstatement of Morphine-Seeking Behavior. Br. J. Pharmacol. 2020177, 4209-4222 https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.15165

  • Ferracane. M.; Brice-Tutt, A.; Coleman, J.; Simpson, G.; Wilson, L.; Eans, S.; Stacy, H.; Murray, T.; McLaughlin, J.; Aldrich, J. Design, Synthesis, and Characterization of the Macrocyclic Tetrapeptide cyclo[Pro-Sar-Phe-d-Phe]: a Mixed Opioid Receptor  Agonist-Antagonist Following Oral Administration. ACS Chem. Neurosci. 202011, 1324-1336 https://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00086
  • Malaker, S.; Pedram, K.; Ferracane, M.; Bensing, B.; Krishnan, V.; Pett, C.; Yu, J.; Woods, E.; Kramer, J.; Westerlind, U.; Dorigo, O.; Bertozzi, C. The mucin-selective protease StcE enables molecular and functional analysis of human cancer-associated mucins. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2019, 116, 7278-7287 https://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1813020116

    Malaker, S.; Ferracane, M.; Depontieu, F.; Zarling, A.; Shabanowitz, J.; Bai, D.; Engelhard, V.; Topalian, S.; Hunt, D. Identification and characterization of complex glycosylated peptides presented by the MHC class II processing pathway in melanoma. J. Prot. Res. 2017, 16, 228-237 http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.6b00496

    Lefever, M.; Szabo, L.; Anglin, B.; Ferracane, M.; Hogan, J.; Cooney, L.; Polt, R. Glycosylation of α-amino acids by sugar acetate donors with InBr3. Minimally competent Lewis acids. Carb. Res. 2012, 351, 121-125 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carres.2012.01.008

Book Chapters

Malaker, S.; Ferracane, M. Mass Spectrometric Identification and Molecular Modeling of Glycopeptides Presented by MHC Class I and II Processing Pathways. In Immunoproteomics: Methods and Protocols, 2nd ed.; Fulton, K., Twine, S., Eds.; Methods in Molecular Biology; Humana: New York, 2019; 2024, pp 269-285 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-9597-4_17

Patent Applications

Aldrich, J.; Ferracane, M. Novel Macrocyclic Opioid Peptides. U.S. Patent Application 62/658,915, April 17, 2018

Awards, Honors, Grants

  • ·       Bert L. Schram Young Investigator Award – 2015

    ·       Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award – 2014

    ·       Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research – 2007

Professional Affiliations

  • ·       American Chemical Society

    ·       American Peptide Society

    ·       Council on Undergraduate Research