Saki Ichikawa, Ph.D.

Saki Ichikawa

Department of Molecular Medicine

Assistant Professor

Saki Ichikawa's Lab

Department of Molecular Medicine

C3-165 VMC Veterinary Medical Center
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.253.3654

Research Interest

My group integrates chemical biology, organic chemistry, and chemical proteomics to explore the intricacies of protein modifications and their impacts on biological systems. These modifications are pivotal in virtually every physiological process, acting as crucial components in cellular signaling, and their malfunction can lead to numerous human diseases. We are merging approaches of chemistry and biology to deepen our understanding of protein modifications in human biology and disease, aiming to uncover the underlying mechanisms and establish a foundation for innovative therapeutic strategies. Within this multidisciplinary framework, we are pursuing the following research directions: (1) understanding stress response and adaptation regulated by ubiquitination, tailored to different types of stress; (2) uncovering the natural recognition motifs of E3 ligases to investigate their implications in protein aging and expand the repertoire of tractable E3 ligases; (3) deciphering the biological roles and gain-of-function of underappreciated non-enzymatic post-translational modifications, exploring their potential as diagnostic tools, biomarkers, or treatment targets.


  • Ph.D., Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2019
  • B.S., Chemistry, The University of Tokyo, 2014

Biography/Professional Experience

  • 2023 – present, Assistant Professor, Cornell University
  • 2019 – 2023, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University


1.  The Cyclimids: Degron-inspired cereblon binders for targeted protein degradation Ichikawa, S.​†, Payne, N. C.†, Xu, W., Chang, C.-F., Vallavoju, N., Frome, S., Flaxman, H. A., Mazitschek, R., Woo, C. M. Biorxiv preprint (2023). (†equal contribution)

​2.  The E3 ligase adapter cereblon targets the C-terminal cyclic imide degron Ichikawa, S.†, Flaxman, H. A.†, Xu, W.†, Vallavoju, N., Lloyd, H. C., Wang, B., Shen, D., Pratt, M. R., Woo, C. M. Nature 610, 775–782 (2022). (†equal contribution)

3.   A Modified System for the Synthesis of Enantioenriched N-Arylamines through Copper-Catalyzed Hydroamination Ichikawa, S., Zhu, S., Buchwald, S. L. ​Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 57, 8714–8718 (2018).

A complete list of publications can be found here. 

Awards and Honors

  • 2023, Marie Sklodowska Curie Award (Grand Prize), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and the Embassy of the Republic of Poland
  • 2021 – 2022, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Overseas Research Fellowship, JSPS
  • 2019, CSJ Student Presentation Award, 99th Annual Meeting of The Chemical Society of Japan (CSJ)
  • 2019, The Graduate Student Council Travel Grant, MIT
  • 2019, The Women in Chemistry Professional Development Grant, MIT
  • 2014 – 2019, Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) Fellowship, JASSO

Professional/Academic Affiliations

  • American Chemical Society
  • The Chemical Society of Japan