In This Section

Alicja Urbaniak

Current position

Instructor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


  • BS, Chemistry, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, 2007-2010
  • MSc, Chemistry, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, 2010-2012
  • PhD, Chemistry, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland, 2012-2017
  • PhD, Health Sciences, Poznan University of Physical Education, 2012-2021

ASPET member since: 2016

Administrative Accomplishments

I have been an active member of ASPET since 2016. In 2019, I joined the Executive Committee of the Division for Drug Discovery and Development, where I am serving to date. From 2019-2021, I was the Communications Officer for my Division, and since 2021, I have been the Secretary/Treasurer. In 2022 I joined the Partnerships Committee. 

Research Areas

My research interests lie at the interphase of chemistry and cancer biology. I intend to tackle the most pressing issues in cancer biology – how to target and therapeutically intervene to disrupt cancer stem cell functionality. In particular, my research has focused on the identification of novel small molecules which target cancer cells and investigation of mechanisms leading to cell death. To date, I have identified numerous novel small molecules with improved anti-cancer activity as compared to their parent scaffold or chemotherapeutics currently used in clinics.

Additionally, I have been focused on the development and optimization of more clinically relevant cancer models. My experience includes isolation and culturing of primary human cancer cells and tissues for the purpose of drug discovery. In my research, I am also employing 3D tumor organoid models and 3D format (mini-ring) cell viability assay to facilitate rapid screening of drug candidates for efficacy in anti-cancer and anti-cancer stem cell function. Most recently I have adapted my work to include human iPSC developed cerebral organoid models infiltrated with cancer cells. This exciting model allows me to mimic cancer metastasis to brain and investigate the activity of the compounds which could inhibit this process.

ASPET Activities

  • Partnerships Committee (2022-present)
  • Division for Drug Discovery and Development
    • Executive Committee member (2019-present)
    • Communications Officer (2019-2021)
    • Secretary/Treasurer (2021-present)

Other Society Memberships/Activities

  • American Chemical Society Member



Last Updated: November 29, 2022

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