Masafumi Yoshinaga, D.Sc.

Assistant Professor

Cellular Biology & Pharmacology

Office: AHC1 419G

Phone: 305-348-1489


Masafumi Yoshinaga joined HWCOM in 2009. His current research focuses on understanding bacterial biotransformation of environmental organoarsenicals and acquiring knowledge for applications such as bioremediation and drug development. Yoshinaga also teaches a course on medical molecular biology and biochemestry in the Graduate Certificate in Molecular and Biomedical Sciences program. 

Yoshinaga earned his Doctor of Science in 2007 conducting a study on molecular mechanisms of vanadium accumulation by marine invertebrates. After completing his graduate studies in Japan, he moved to the United States and started his new research career as an environmental microbiologist at Wayne State University.  He has over 30 publications in books and peer-reviewed journals that have been cited over 850 times.  


D.Sc., Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Japan 
M.Sc., Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Japan 
B.Sc., Biological Science, Hiroshima University, Japan 

Areas of interest/specialization

Yoshinaga is an inorganic biochemist and environmental toxicologist who studies molecular mechanisms involved in metabolism, resistance, and toxicology of metals in various organisms from bacteria to human. The overarching goal of his research is to understand how organisms metabolizes essential metals and protect themselves from toxic metals and utilize the knowledge for applications such as bioremediation and drug development to solve ongoing environment and health issues. His research contributions include identification and/or characterization of (1) vanadium-binding proteins from vanadium-accumulating sea animals; (2) ArsI, the only known carbon-arsenic bond cleaving enzyme from organoarsenical-degrading bacteria; (3) MdaB, the novel nitroreductase that plays a role in degradation of nitroaromatic arsenicals used as growth promoters for poultry; (4) ArsJ, the novel organoarsenical transporter; (5) arsinothricin (AST), the newly identified organoarsenical antibiotic; (6) ArsN, the AST resistance protein; and (7) synergistic effect of trivalent and hexavalent chromium to promote tumorigenic activity on human skin cells with activation of MEK/ERK and AKT signaling pathway. 

His lab is looking for undergraduate students interested in volunteering to help with ongoing research projects. If you are interested, please send your CV to 

Research areas/interest

  • Metal(loid) homeostasis/detoxification 
  • Metal(loid) biogeochemical cycles  
  • Metal(loid) toxicology 
  • Antibiotics and resistance 
  • Drug discovery and development 

Selected publications 

  1. Suzol ASH, Howlader AH, Galván AE, Radhakrishnan M, Wnuk SF, Rosen BP, and Yoshinaga M.* Semi-synthesis of the organoarsenical antibiotic arsinothricin. J Nat Prod, 83(9):2809-2813 (2020) 
  2. Garbinski LD, Rosen BP, Yoshinaga M.* Organoarsenicals inhibit bacterial peptidoglycan biosynthesis by targeting the essential enzyme MurA. Chemosphere, 254, 126911 (2020)  
  3. Yan Y, Chen J, Galván AE, Garbinski LD, Zhu YG, Rosen BP, Yoshinaga M.* Reduction of organoarsenical herbicides and antimicrobial growth promoters by the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti. Environ Sci Technol, 53(23), 13648-56 (2019) 
  4. Nadar VS, Chen J, Dheeman DS, Galván AE, Sakurai KY, Kandavelu P, Sankaran B, Kuramata M, Ishikawa S, Rosen BP*, Yoshinaga M.* Arsinothricin, an organoarsenical broad-spectrum antibiotic. Commun Biol, 2, 131 (2019)  
  5. Chen J, Yoshinaga M, Rosen BP. The antibiotic action of methylarsenite is an emergent property of microbial communities. Mol Microbiol, 111(2), 487-94 (2019) 

View more of Yoshinaga's publications

Active grants

Project: Molecular mechanisms of degradation of environmental organoarsenical herbicides and growth promoters
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: National Sciences Foundation
Period: August 2018 – July 2021
Total Funding: $465,000
Status: Active

Patent applications

  1. Rosen, B. P.; Wnuk, S. F.; Yoshinaga, M.; Howlader, M. A. H.; Suzol, S. M. S. H. “Synthesis of the Organoarsenical Antibiotic Arsinothricin and Derivatives Thereof,” U.S. Patent Application No. 16/893,890, June 5, 2020
  2. Rosen, B. P.; Yoshinaga, M. “Arsinothricin and methods of treating infections using arsinothricin,” U.S. Patent Application No. 16/163,055, October 17, 2018