Justin Wilson


Contact Phone


Office Location

PSBN 3649 C+D


Inorganic & Organometallic

Biomedical Sciences

Biology-Inspired Chemistry & Physics

Molecular Design & Synthesis



2013, PhD Inorganic Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2008, BS Chemistry, UC Berkeley



Justin Wilson began his research career as an undergraduate in the lab of Prof. Jeff Long at UC Berkeley, where he investigated cyanide-bridged transition metal clusters as single-molecule magnets. After graduating in UC Berkeley with Highest Honors and the Departmental Citation in 2008, he began is PhD studies in Inorganic Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Prof. Stephen J. Lippard. Justin’s graduate research focused on the design and investigation of novel platinum-based anticancer drug candidates, for which he received the annual Davison Prize for best inorganic thesis. From 2008–2013, Justin was a Seaborg Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked with Dr. Eva Birnbaum on radioisotope production, separation, and ligand design. In 2013, Justin began his independent career as an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, and was subsequently promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 2021. In 2024, Justin joined the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at UC Santa Barbara as a professor. His research program has been recognized by a number of awards including the Cottrell Scholar Award, the Jonathan Sessler Award for Emerging Leaders in Bioinorganic and Medicinal Inorganic Chemistry, the Ed Stiefel Young Investigator Award at the Metals in Biology Gordon Research Conference, and the National ACS Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator.



Research in the Wilson Lab spans the fields of bioinorganic chemistry, radiochemistry, and f-element coordination chemistry. Within the area of bioinorganic chemistry, the Wilson Lab has focused on designing organometallic and coordination complexes of transition metals as cytotoxic anticancer agents, ion channel inhibitors, and gasotransmitter-releasing molecules. In the area of radiochemistry, the Wilson Lab designs novel chelating agents to stabilize radiometal ions for diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine applications. In another project, the Wilson Lab investigates coordination chemistry approach to separate and chelate f-element metal ions.


Selected Publications:

Aohan Hu, Kirsten E Martin, Dariusz Śmiłowicz, Eduardo Aluicio‐Sarduy, Shelbie J Cingoranelli, Suzanne E Lapi, Jonathan W Engle, Eszter Boros*, Justin J Wilson*. “Construction of the Bioconjugate Py-Macrodipa-PSMA and Its In Vivo Investigations with Large 132/135La3+ and Small 47Sc3+ Radiometal Ions.”  Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2023, e202300457


Nicholas P. Bigham and Justin J. Wilson*. “Metal Coordination Complexes as Therapeutic Agents for Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 9389–9409


Zhouyang Huang and Justin J. Wilson*. “Structure-Activity Relationships of Metal-Based Inhibitors of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter.” ChemMedChem 2023, 18, e202300106.


Zhouyang Huang, Samantha N. MacMillan, and Justin J. Wilson*. “A Fluorogenic Inhibitor of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter.” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2023, 62, e202214920


Benjamin Neuditschko, A. Paden King, Zhouyang Huang, Lukas Janker, Andrea Bileck, Yasmin Borutzki, Sierra C. Marker, Christopher Gerner, Justin J. Wilson*, Samuel M. Meier-Menches*. “An Anticancer Rhenium Tricarbonyl Targets Fe-S Cluster Biogenesis in Ovarian Cancer Cells.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202209136


Aohan Hu, Justin J. Wilson*. “Advancing Chelation Strategies for Large Metal Ions for Nuclear Medicine Applications” Acc. Chem. Res. 2022, 55, 904-915


Chilaluck C. Konkankit, Sierra C. Marker, Nicholas P. Bigham, Darren S. Dale, Daniel Lorey II, Justin J. Wilson*. “Development and Implementation of Nuclear Chemistry Experiments at the Undergraduate Level.” J. Chem. Ed. 2021, 98, 3831–3840


Aohan Hu, Eduardo Aluicio-Sarduy, Victoria Brown, Samantha N. MacMillan, Kaelyn V. Becker, Todd E. Barnhart, Valery Radchenko, Caterina F. Ramogida, Jonathan W. Engle 

Justin J. Wilson*. “Py-Macrodipa: A Janus Chelator Capable of Binding Medicinally Relevant Rare-Earth Radiometals of Disparate Sizes” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2021, 143, 10429–10440