Chemistry & Biochemistry

Maha Zewail Foote

Professor of Chemistry

Areas of expertise

Chemistry of drug-DNA interactions, Photoinduced DNA damage


PhD, The University of Texas at Austin 2000
BS (with honors), Caltech 1994


Professor of Chemistry
Southwestern University
August 01, 2013 - present

Visiting Scholar
The University of Texas at Austin
May 31, 2014 - present

Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Southwestern University
August 01, 2010 - June 30, 2016

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Southwestern University
August 01, 2009 - July 01, 2013

Visiting Researcher
The University of Texas at Austin
August 01, 2009 - July 31, 2010

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Southwestern University
August 01, 2003 - July 31, 2009

Postdoctoral Associate
St. Edwards University
August 01, 2001 - May 31, 2002

Teaching Philosophy

Previous Courses

General Chemistry 1 and 2, Biochemistry, Advanced Topics in Biochemistry


I.M. del Mundo, M. Zewail-Foote, S.M. Kerwin, and K.M. Vasquez  (2017) Alternative DNA structure formation in the mutagenic human c-MYC promoterNucleic Acids Research, 45: 4929-4943. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkx100

Z. Johnson*, J. Venters*, F.A. Guarraci, M. Zewail-Foote  (2015) Methamphetamine induces DNA damage in specific regions of the female rat brainClinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 42: 570-575.

V. Kumar, A. Vasudevan, L.J. Ting Soh, C.L. Min, A. Vyas, M. Zewail-Foote and F.A. Guarraci (2014) Sexual attractiveness in male rats is associated with greater concentration of major urinary proteinsBiology of Reproduction, 91: 1-7.

A. Zewail & M. Zewail (2013) Science for the "Haves"Agnew. Chem. Int. Ed., 52: 108-111.

J. Bolton*, C. Winland*, B. Ford*, A. Burbey*, M. Zewail-Foote and F.A. Guarraci (2012) Kin discrimination in prepubescent and adult Long–Evans rats, Behavioural Processes, 90: 415-419.

C. Winland*, J. Bolton*, B. Ford*, S. Jampana*, J. Tinker,* R.J. Frohardt, F.A. Guarraci and M. Zewail-Foote (2012) “Nice Guys Finish Last”: Influence of mate choice on reproductive success in the Long Evans rat, Physiology & Behavior, 105:868-876.

G. G. Holman, M. Zewail-Foote, A.R. Smith, K.A. Johnson, and B.L. Iverson (2011) A sequence-specific threading tetraintercalator with an extremely slow dissociation rate constant, Nature Chemistry 3: 875-881. (†co-first author)

M. Zewail-Foote, A. Diehl*, A. Benson*, M. Lee*, F. A. Guarraci (2009) Mate preference and paternity in female long evans rats. Physiology & Behavior 96: 98-103. (Featured on the cover)

R. Kainthla*, M. Zewail-Foote (2008) Oxidative DNA damage following photoexcitation of daunomycin: Direct role of oxygen. J. Photochem. Photobiol. A: Chem. 198: 200-204.

M. Zewail-Foote, L. Ven-Shun, H. Kohn, D. Bearss, M. Guzman, L.H. Hurley (2001) The inefficiency of incisions of Ecteinascidin 743-DNA adducts by the UvrABC nuclease and the unique structural feature of the DNA adducts can be used to explain the repair-dependent toxicities of this antitumor agent. Chemistry and Biology 8:1033-1049.

M. Zewail-Foote, L.H. Hurley (2001) Differential rates of reversibility of Ecteinascidin 743-DNA covalent adducts from different sequences lead to migration to favored bonding sites. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 123: 6485-6495.

L. H. Hurley, M. Zewail-Foote (2001) The antitumor agent Ecteinascidin 743: Characterization of its covalent DNA adducts and chemical stability. Adv Exp Med Biol 500: 289-299.

M. Zewail-Foote, Hurley, L. H. (2001) Ecteinascidin 743: Characterization of its covalent DNA adducts and chemical stability. The Antitumor Agent In Snyder, R. e. al., ed. Biological Reactive Intermediates VI. New York, Kluwer Academic/Plenum. 2001.

M. Zewail-Foote, L.H. Hurley (1999) Ecteinascidin 743: A minor groove alkylator that bends DNA toward the major groove. J. Med. Chem. 42: 2493-2497.

M. Zewail-Foote, L.H. Hurley (1999) Molecular approaches to achieving control of gene expression by drug intervention at the transcriptional level. Anti-Cancer Drug Design 14: 1-9.

B.H. Arendt, R.M. Kannan, M. Zewail, J.A. Kornfield and S.D. Smith. (1994) Dynamics of each component in miscible blends of polyisoprene and polyvinylethylene. Rheologica Acta 33: 322-336.