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Chemical Biology & Enzymes

Researchers in this area are interested chemically manipulating biological systems, developing chemical probes and drugs, engineering proteins and peptides, and understanding the function of biological catalysts.

Chemical Biology

Research in this this area includes the development of small molecule and peptide-based agents, including metal complexes, directed at DNA, RNA and proteins, both as probes for biological function and as potential therapeutic agents.  Other researchers are engineering peptides and proteins to understand biological function, including the use of modified, rare or unnatural amino acids. This area also includes chemical approaches to enzyme function and the development of imaging agents.

Faculty with interests in this area include:


Research in this area includes investigation of the molecular mechanism and biological functions of protein and RNA enzymes that catalyze biological reactions, and thus are indispensable for life.  Many of the enzyme systems under investigation are of biomedical relevance, either as novel drug targets or as important players in human disease.  Other enzymes under study have the potential to impact the development of alternative energy sources, such as biofuels, through metabolic engineering.  Researchers in this area use a wide variety of tools, including enzyme kinetics, structural analysis, genetic manipulation and chemical biology approaches, to reveal the secrets of how these macromolecular machines catalyze complex biological reactions with efficiency and specificity.

Faculty with interests in this area include: