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Birk, Alexander

Birk, Alexander

Curriculum Vitae

Assistant Professor

Phone: 718-262-5277
Office Location: AC-4E03

Office Hours  
Monday  5-6 pm 
Tuesday  4-6 pm 


Degree Institution Field Dates
PhD  Cornell University  Pharmacology  1996-2000 
BS  York College, CUNY  Chemistry  1991-1995 
Human body completely relies on the mitochondrial electron transport chain in energy generation in form of ATP. Furthermore, electrical communication within mitochondrial network is thought to play a role in supporting energy distribution between the cells within a tissue. The nervous system, heart, skeletal muscle, kidney, retina, and liver have especially high levels of energy demand. Thus, mitochondrial dysfunctions has been demonstrated to be the key factor in neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, retinal diseases, cancer, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Our main goal is to design and study novel biological materials for improving efficiency of electrical conductance in mitochondria membranes and optimization of mitochondrial network capacity, which is required for the prevention and treatment of many age-associated diseases.

Areas of Expertise

Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Virology, Bioenergetics, Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals development

Books in Field Of Expertise

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Articles in Field Of Expertise

Alexander Birk, Shaoyi Liu, Virginia Garcia-Marin, Margaret A MacNeil.. "Targeting high-density aromatic peptides to cardiolipin optimizes the mitochondrial membrane potential.." bioRxiv 2023.09.28.560027; doi: 2023: .

McNeil M, Birk A., Garcia-Marin V.. "High density aromatic peptides protect retinal ganglion cells in mouse retina following optic nerve crush injury.." bioRxiv. 2023: .

Wayne Mitchell, Jeffrey D Tamucci, Emery L Ng, Shaoyi Liu, Alexander V Birk, Hazel H Szeto, Eric R May, Andrei Alexandrescu, and Nathan N Alder. "Structure-activity relationships of mitochondria-targeted tetrapeptide pharmacological compounds." eLife. 11 2022: e75531.

aXiaoping Zhu, Erika Aoyama, Alexander V. Birk, Oladapo Onasanya, William H. Carr, Lev Mourokh, Shelley D. Minteer, Michele Vittadello.. "Cytochrome c oxidase oxygen reduction reaction induced by cytochrome c T on nickel-coordination surfaces based on graphene oxide in suspension." Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics. 1861(11) 2020: 148262-75.

Ariza-Mateos A, Díaz-Toledano R, Block TM, Prieto-Vega S, Birk A*, Gómez.J. "Geneticin stabilises the open conformation of the 5' region of hepatitis C virus RNA and inhibits viral replication." J.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 60(2) 2016: 925-35.

H.H. Szeto, S. Liu, Y. Soong, A.V. Birk. "Improving mitochondrial bioenergetics under ischemic conditions increases warm ischemia tolerance in the kidney." Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 308 2015: F11-21.

A.V. Birk, W.M. Chao, C. Bracken, J.D. Warren, H.H. Szeto. "Targeting mitochondrial cardiolipin and the cytochrome c/cardiolipin complex to promote electron transport and optimize mitochondrial ATP synthesis." Br J Pharmacol. 171 2014: 2017-2028.

H.H. Szeto, A.V. Birk. "Serendipity and the discovery of novel compounds that restore mitochondrial plasticity." Clin Pharmacol Ther. 96 2014: 672-683.

A.V. Birk, S. Liu, Y. Soong, W. Mills, P. Singh, J.D. Warren, S.V. Seshan, J.D. Pardee, H.H. Szeto. "The mitochondrial-targeted compound SS-31 re-energizes ischemic mitochondria by interacting with cardiolipin." J Am Soc Nephrol. 24 2013: 1250-1261.

A. Ariza-Mateos, S. Prieto-Vega, R. Diaz-Toledano, A. Birk, H. Szeto, I. Mena, A. Berzal-Herranz, J. Gomez. "RNA self-cleavage activated by ultraviolet light-induced oxidation." Nucleic Acids Res. 40 2011: 1748-1766..

D. Jiang, J.M. Weidner, M. Qing, X.B. Pan, H. Guo, C. Xu, X. Zhang, A. Birk, J. Chang, P.Y. Shi, T.M. Block, J.T. Guo. "Identification of five interferon-induced cellular proteins that inhibit west nile virus and dengue virus infections." J Virol. 84 2010: 8332-8341.

X.G. Zhang, P.W. Mason, E.J. Dubovi, X. Xu, N. Bourne, R.W. Renshaw, T.M. Block, A.V. Birk. "Antiviral activity of geneticin against dengue virus." Antiviral Res. 83 2009: 21-27.

R. Diaz-Toledano, A. Ariza-Mateos, A. Birk, B. Martinez-Garcia, J. Gomez. "In vitro characterization of a miR-122-sensitive double-helical switch element in the 5' region of hepatitis C virus RNA." Nucleic Acids Res. 37 2009: 5498-5510.

A.V. Birk, E.J. Dubovi, L. Cohen-Gould, R. Donis, H.H. Szeto. "Cytoplasmic vacuolization responses to cytopathic bovine viral diarrhoea virus." Virus Res. 2008 132: 76-85.

A.V. Birk, E.J. Dubovi, X. Zhang, H.H. Szeto. "Antiviral activity of geneticin against bovine viral diarrhoea virus." Antivir Chem Chemother. 19 2008: 33-40.

K. Zhao, G.M. Zhao, D. Wu, Y. Soong, A.V. Birk, P.W. Schiller, H.H. Szeto. "Cell-permeable peptide antioxidants targeted to inner mitochondrial membrane inhibit mitochondrial swelling, oxidative cell death, and reperfusion injury." J Biol Chem. 279 204: 34682-34690.

A. V. Birk, W. N. Chao, S. Liu S, Y. Soong Y, H. H Szeto. "Disruption of cytochrome c heme coordination is responsible for mitochondrial injury during ischemia." Biochim Biophys Acta. 10 2015: 1075-1084.


Alexander V. Birk and Margaret MacNeil. . Cationically-enframed high density aromatic peptides. Patent pending, filed 2019, and issued pending.

. D. Travis Wilson, Hazel H. Szeto, and Alexander V. Birk. 2014. Aromatic cationic peptides and uses of same. Patent 20140378396..

. D. Travis Wilson, Hazel H. Szeto, and Alexander V. Birk. 2014. Aromatic cationic peptides and uses of same. Patent 20140349941.

. D. Travis Wilson, Hazel H. Szeto, and Alexander V. Birk. 2014. Aromatic cationic peptides and uses of same. Patent 20140093897..

Hazel H. Szeto, Kesheng Zhao, Hugh D. Robertson, Alexander V. Birk. 2010. Method and carrier complexes for delivery molecules to cells.. Patent 20130085259.

Pardee Joel D, Birk Alexander V. 2009. Metabolic enhancement therapy. Patent WO 2009/051609.

Birk Alexander V, Dubovi Edward J, Szeto Hazel H. 2008. 2-amino-2,7-dideoxy-alpha-D-glycero-D-gluco-heptopyranosyl inhibitors of positive sense single-stranded RNA envelope viruses. Patent WO 2008/154373.




PSC CUNY Research Award Program Fall 2021, Mechanisms of action of novel mitochondria-protective HDAP peptides. 2021-2023: $3,500.00.

PSC CUNY Research Award Program Fall 2022, Effect of intravitreal administration of the HDAP peptides on survival of retinal ganglion cells after optic nerve crush.. 2022-2023: $3,500.00.

Sponsored Research Grant from Social Profit Network, Mechanisms of action of novel mitochondria-protective HDAP peptides. 2021-present: $150,000.00.

DoD HBCUMI, Acquisition of a Transmission Electron Microscope for research and Education of Students on Mitochondria Bioenergetics. pending: $680,700.00.

DoD (DURIP), Super-resolution confocal microscopy to study mitochondrial network in the visual pathway. pending: $337,511.00.