Associate Professor, Department of Molecular Pathobiology
NYU College of Dentistry
Dr. Khanna’s research focuses on drug development in neurodegenerative diseases. Her laboratory is targeting through rational, structure-based design protein-RNA and protein-protein interactions using small molecules, aptamers, and oligonucleotide therapeutics. She will highlight work done on several diseases and how they intersect with chemical biology.
Dr. May Khanna is an accomplished scientist, entrepreneur, and educator with a diverse range of expertise in chemistry, biochemistry, structural biology, chemical biology, and neuroscience. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry and Biochemistry from Wayne State University, pursued a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she worked with Dr. Juli Feigon (a member of the National Academy of Sciences) followed by another postdoctoral position at the University of Toronto under Dr. Benjamin Blencowe. Later, she transitioned to a Visiting Research Assistant Professor at Indiana University before joining the faculty of the University of Arizona in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine. She was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2021 before moving to New York University (NYU) as a tenured Associate Professor of Molecular Pathobiology in 2022 and an affiliate of the Chemistry Department at NYU.
At the University of Arizona, Dr. Khanna held additional active academic affiliations, including serving as a faculty member in Pharmacology, an affiliate of the UA Neuroscience Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, a member of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science, and a member of the Arizona Center for Drug Discovery. She has also co-founded several start-up companies, including Regulonix, LLC (as co-founder), Regenerix, LLC (as CSO), CLIACEPT, Inc. (as co-founder), and Eternum Analytics, LLC (as co-founder and CEO). Throughout her career, Dr. Khanna has received numerous honors and awards, including the Herbert Livingston Teaching Award and the Arizona Health Sciences Center Career Development Award. Most recently, she was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors as a Senior Member. Dr. Khanna’s research focuses on drug development in neurodegenerative diseases. Her laboratory is targeting through rational, structure-based design protein-RNA and protein-protein interactions using small molecules, aptamers, and oligonucleotide therapeutics. The laboratory screening is done through structure-based tools and extensive biophysical tools. In addition to NMR, X-ray crystallography and cryoEM are used in her laboratory to solve complex structures. The laboratory focuses on rare diseases such as Batten disease, ALS and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Her laboratory is the first to have developed chemical tools to target TDP-43, an important protein implicated in the pathobiology of ALS and AD. Two other targets include CD44/Moesin, and RIPK3/MLKL, proteins in important pathways in activated microglia. Microglia have emerged as an important cell type target in AD. The compounds generated in the Khanna laboratory have proven to be effective both in vitro and have also shown efficacy in models in vivo.