Alexei V. Demchenko

Professor; Department Chair

About Alexei

Alexei Demchenko was born (1965), raised, and educated in Moscow, Russia. He graduated from the Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia with a Diploma (M.S.) in Chemical Engineering (1988) before joining the laboratory of the late Professor Kochetkov at the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry in Moscow. In 1993, he was awarded a Ph.D. in organic chemistry by the Russian Academy of Sciences for his work on the development of thiocyanate methodology for glycosylation. After two post-doctoral years under Kochetkov, he joined Professor Boons’ group at the University of Birmingham (UK) as a BBSRC post-doctoral research fellow. 

In 1998, he moved to the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia (USA) as a research associate. In 2001, he joined the faculty at the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) as an Assistant Professor where he was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure (2007) and Professor (2011). In 2014, Demchenko was appointed Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. After retiring from UMSL in 2021, Demchenko joined the faculty at Saint Louis University as Professor and Department Chair.

Professor Demchenko has co-authored more than 200 articles and has given more than 160 invited lectures and seminars in the U.S. and abroad. His research interests are in the area of synthetic carbohydrate chemistry that include: streamlined synthesis of carbohydrate building blocks; novel glycosylation reactions; methods for stereocontrolling the glycosidic bond formation; strategies for expeditious assembly of complex glycans and glycoconjugates; synthetic vaccines and glycopharmaceuticals; human milk oligosaccharides and other food additives and ingredients; solid phase and automated synthesis; modification and conjugation of glycans to protein carriers, surfaces, and nanoparticles. His research program has been funded by grants from a variety of sources totaling more than $10M.

Professor Demchenko has served in many editorial roles and organized a number of international conferences including 2015 Gordon Research Conference on Carbohydrates. From 2019, he has served as President of the U.S. Advisory Committee for the International Carbohydrate Symposia. Professor Demchenko is the National Representative of the USA for the International Carbohydrate Organization and the 2020-2021 Chair of the Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

“As the PI or co-Investigator on several previous grants, I laid the groundwork for the proposed program by developing effective methods for synthesizing and testing carbohydrates. I have co-authored more than 200 articles and have given 160 invited lectures and seminars in the US and abroad.

While I am proud of my research accomplishments, it is my record of mentoring students and other junior scientists (around 150 total) and building inclusive research teams of which I am most proud of and which speaks to my strengths as a leader. This work has led to international collaborations around the world and to advancing innovations and discoveries in the growing field of glycoscience.”


M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia, 1988

Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russia, 1993

Professional Awards

2005  National Science Foundation: CAREER Award

2007  New Investigator Award, American Chemical Society, Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry

2013  Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience Award

2013  Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity, UMSL

2014  The American Chemical Society St. Louis Award

2017  Senior Investigator of the Year Award, UMSL Office of Research

2020  Co-Investigators of the Year Award (with K. J. Stine), UMSL Office of Research

2020   Academy of Science – St. Louis, Outstanding Scientists Awards – Fellows Award

2024  The Melville L. Wolfrom Award, American Chemical Society, CARB Division


Other Experience and Professional Memberships

2005-current  Organizer of seven ACS Symposia within National Meeting and Pacifichem programing

2006-2017  Member-at-Large, Am. Chem. Soc., Carbohydrate Chemistry Division Executive Committee

2007- current Editorial Advisory Board – Carbohydrate Research

2007-current  Ad-hoc member, various NIH study sections, site review visits, and NSF panels

2007-2010 RFP Chemistry review panel member, Science Foundation Ireland

2009-2010 Chair, UMSL Faculty Senate Committee on Research

2012-2021 Associate Editor, Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry, Taylor & Francis

2012- current Editorial Board – Biochemical Compounds

2014-2015 Subject Editor, Natural products and chemical biology – Elsevier Reference Module

2014-2016 Scientific Committee for the 28th International Carbohydrate Symposium

2014-2021 University of Missouri Board of Curators’ Distinguished Professorship

2014-Current Board of Advisors – Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biochemistry

2015 Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Carbohydrates

2016-2019 American Chemical Society, Carbohydrate Chemistry Division Program Committee

2016-2021 Member, UMSL’s Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI)

2018- current Editorial Board – Letters in Organic Chemistry

2018- current International Advisory Board – Russian Chemical Bulletin

2018-2019  Top Downloaded Paper Certificate – Chemistry – A European Journal

2018-2020  Presidential Award for Excellence Committee Member, University of Missouri System

2019- current  The National Representative of the USA for the International Carbohydrate Organization

2019- current President of the U.S. Advisory Committee for the International Carbohydrate Symposia

2020- current Fellow of the Academy of Science – St. Louis

2020-2021 Chair, Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry, American Chemical Society

2021- Current Member, Saint Louis University Institute for Drug and Biotherapeutic Innovation

2022-Present  Member, Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences (ICTS)

2022-Present Fellow of the Saint Louis University Research Institute

2022-2024 Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC)

09/2021-Present   Professor and Department Chair, Department of Chemistry, Saint Louis University (SLU), USA

09/2021-Present  Curators’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Adjunct Professor, University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL), USA

Teaching Philosophy

“It is my belief that teaching can only happen in the context of a human relationship, and it is my desire to first create an atmosphere or learning environment in which all people in a room can connect. In the first few minutes of a lecture or a presentation, I try to establish the shared passion for chemistry as a common ground.  In that territory of shared passion, the sharing of ideas or communication becomes easier. What I may think about a molecule, a reaction, a mechanism, or a topic need not be what my student thinks; rather, we think together, share our knowledge with each other, and learn together how to think better. I often use group assignments and chalk-board exercises, extended office hours, casual settings for study groups, and one-page quizzes in even the largest classes. It is my objective to maintain classes as communities of learners by keeping all constantly aware of the others’ objectives, different perspectives, and shared passions. In doing this, I attempt to teach students how to think as well as how to broaden their scientific knowledge base.”

Glycoworld Support

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