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Faculty and Staff Directory

Travis Denton, PhD

Affiliate Faculty


  • Central Washington University, BS in Chemistry
  • University of Montana, PhD in Chemistry

Past Academic Positions

  • Assistant Professor, Eastern Washington University

Honors and Awards

  • 2019 Inducted into the Steve Gleason Institute of Neuroscience as an inaugural fellow
  • 2017-2018 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences Service Award
  • 2012 EWU Distinguished Faculty Award – This award was initiated by nomination by former students and is very special to me. I won’t forget any of you! You know who you are!


Liposomal Encapsulated FSC231, a PICK1 Inhibitor, Prevents the Ischemia/Reperfusion-Induced Degradation of GluA2-Containing AMPA Receptors. Achzet LM, Astruc-Diaz F, Beske PH, Natale NR, Denton TT, Jackson DA. Pharmaceutics. 2021 Apr 30;13(5):636. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics13050636. PMID: 33946313 Free PMC article.

Drug development and the process of transitioning to team-based learning in a qualitative way.
Bertsch TG, Denton TT, Perea NM, Ahmed A, McKeirnan KC. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2021 Jun;13(6):723-728. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2021.01.025. Epub 2021 Feb 10. PMID: 33867071

The Metabolic Importance of the Glutaminase II Pathway in Normal and Cancerous Cells.
Dorai T, Pinto JT, Denton TT, Krasnikov BF, Cooper AJL. Anal Biochem. 2020 Dec 19:114083. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2020.114083. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33352190

The metabolic importance of the overlooked asparaginase II pathway. Cooper AJL, Dorai T, Pinto JT, Denton TT. Anal Biochem. 2020 Dec 22:114084. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2020.114084. Online ahead of print. PMID: 33347861

Selective linkage of mitochondrial enzymes to intracellular calcium stores differs between human-induced pluripotent stem cells, neural stem cells, and neurons. Chen H, Cross AC, Thakkar A, Xu H, Li A, Paull D, Noggle SA, Kruger L, Denton TT, Gibson GE. J Neurochem. 2021 Mar;156(6):867-879. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15160. Epub 2020 Sep 12. PMID: 32865230

Synthesis of α-Ketoglutaramic acid. Shen D, Kruger L, Deatherage T, Denton TT. Anal Biochem. 2020 Oct 15;607:113862. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2020.113862. Epub 2020 Aug 6. PMID: 32771374

A standardized method for incorporation of drugs into food for use with Drosophila melanogaster.
Kruger L, Denton TT. Anal Biochem. 2020 Jun 15;599:113740. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2020.113740. Epub 2020 Apr 19. PMID: 32320689 Free PMC article.

An overview of sulfur-containing compounds originating from natural metabolites: Lanthionine ketimine and its analogues. Shen D, Hensley K, Denton TT. Anal Biochem. 2020 Feb 15;591:113543. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2019.113543. Epub 2019 Dec 17. PMID: 31862405 Free PMC article. Review.

The Novel CYP2A6 Inhibitor, DLCI-1, Decreases Nicotine Self-Administration in Mice. Chen YC, Fowler JP, Wang J, Watson CJW, Sherafat Y, Staben A, Lazarus P, Denton TT, Fowler CD. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2020 Jan;372(1):21-29. doi: 10.1124/jpet.119.260653. Epub 2019 Oct 18. PMID: 31628204 Free PMC article.

Identification of the 4-Position of 3-Alkynyl and 3-Heteroaromatic Substituted Pyridine Methanamines as a Key Modification Site Eliciting Increased Potency and Enhanced Selectivity for Cytochrome P-450 2A6 Inhibition. Denton TT, Srivastava P, Xia Z, Chen G, Watson CJW, Wynd A, Lazarus P.
J Med Chem. 2018 Aug 23;61(16):7065-7086. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00084. Epub 2018 Aug 1.
PMID: 29995408 Free PMC article.

Rewiring of Glutamine Metabolism Is a Bioenergetic Adaptation of Human Cells with Mitochondrial DNA Mutations. Chen Q, Kirk K, Shurubor YI, Zhao D, Arreguin AJ, Shahi I, Valsecchi F, Primiano G, Calder EL, Carelli V, Denton TT, Beal MF, Gross SS, Manfredi G, D’Aurelio M. Cell Metab. 2018 May 1;27(5):1007-1025.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.03.002. Epub 2018 Apr 12. PMID: 29657030 Free PMC article.

Multiple-step, one-pot synthesis of 2-substituted-3-phosphono-1-thia-4-aza-2-cyclohexene-5-carboxylates and their corresponding ethyl esters. Shen D, Hensley K, Denton TT. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2018 Feb 15;28(4):562-565. doi: 10.1016/j.bmcl.2018.01.052. Epub 2018 Feb 1. PMID: 29398540 Free PMC article.

Mild metabolic perturbations alter succinylation of mitochondrial proteins. Chen H, Xu H, Potash S, Starkov A, Belousov VV, Bilan DS, Denton TT, Gibson GE. J Neurosci Res. 2017 Nov;95(11):2244-2252. doi: 10.1002/jnr.24103. Epub 2017 Jun 20. PMID: 28631845 Free PMC article.

The Enzymology of 2-Hydroxyglutarate, 2-Hydroxyglutaramate and 2-Hydroxysuccinamate and Their Relationship to Oncometabolites. Hariharan VA, Denton TT, Paraszcszak S, McEvoy K, Jeitner TM, Krasnikov BF, Cooper AJ. Biology (Basel). 2017 Mar 30;6(2):24. doi: 10.3390/biology6020024.
PMID: 28358347 Free PMC article.

Reductions in the mitochondrial enzyme α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex in neurodegenerative disease – beneficial or detrimental? Chen H, Denton TT, Xu H, Calingasan N, Beal MF, Gibson GE. J Neurochem. 2016 Dec;139(5):823-838. doi: 10.1111/jnc.13836. PMID: 27580471 Free PMC article.

View a complete list of Dr. Denton’s publications

Additional Information

Research Interests:
The Denton lab focuses on small molecule medicinal chemistry and neuroscience. The Denton lab uses medicinal chemistry to study neurological disorders such as ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease and more. Additionally, the Denton lab synthesizes small molecules for the treatment of nicotine addiction and cancer. The Denton lab also has a pharmaceutics focus in the development of liposomal delivery agents for small molecules into the brain. The Denton lab specializes in the synthesis of amino acid analogs, phosphonic acid bioisosteres, stable isotope containing molecules as analytical tracers and standards, sulfur containing molecules as antioxidants, anti-neuroinflammatory agents and autophagy stimulators. The Denton lab employs in vitro analytical assays, protein production, protein X ray crystallography, small molecule X ray crystallography, assay development, UPLC-MS/MS, proteomics, human cell culture, lentiviral vectors, CRISPR-CAS 9 technology, and animal models such as Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies), mice and rats.

The Denton lab collaborates with numerous investigators within the WSU College of Medicine including: Jason Gerstner, Marcos Frank, Willie Vanderheyden, Chris Davis and Jonathan Wisor. In the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Denton lab has collaborations with Phil Lazarus, Senthil Natesan, Bhagwat Prasad, John White, Jason (Boyang) Wu, Darrell Jackson, Ayesha Ahmed, Nicole Rodin, Taylor Bertsch, Kimberly McKeirnan and Gang Chen.

Travis Denton
Travis Denton, PhD
Affiliate Faculty