Welcome to the Burkart Lab

Winter 2015

We welcome the new members of the Burkart lab!

Eunice Kim
received her B.S. in Chemistry at Sogang University where she studied under the direction of Prof. Bongjin Moon. Her research focused on developing lung cancer diagnostic tools based on polymer-tagged proteins.

Jeff Mindrebo
received his B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Houston. Under the direction of Prof. Jim Briggs, his research focused on developing kinase inhibitors for heart disease by in silico methods.

Thomas Bartholow
received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin. He worked under the direction of Prof. Bhattacharyay. Hi projects included studying the editing domain/mechanism of Prolyl-Aminoacyl tRNA synthetase, redox potentials in copper binding proteins, and the hydride transfer mechanism of Quinone Oxidoreductase

Fall 2014

Congratulations to Dr. Justin Hammons
who successfully defended his theses titled, "Studies Toward the Synthesis and Mechanism of Action of CJ-15,801 and the Spirohexenolides."

We recently published in Angewandte: 'Visualizing the Chain-Flipping Mechanism in Fatty-Acid Biosynthesis'.

Studies toward understanding the 'Versatility of Acyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Synthetases' was featured in Chemistry & Biology Previews.

Our lab was featured in a recent ACS Chemical Biology podcast [Vol. 9 Issue 9]. In this issue, Prof. Burkart discusses the value in targeting PPTases as a novel drug target against microbial agents. Listen here!

We successfully had our annual Chicken Pot Pie & Holiday 2014 Potluck!

Summer 2014

Annual lab retreat and grunion run. See pictures here and here!

We welcome Dr. Peter Tufar
& Dr. Tony Davis
to the Burkart lab!

Our first own X-ray crystal structure of a protein: PptT!



Winter 2014


Finally updated the website!

Congratulations to Dr. Nick Kosa
and Dr. Michael Rothmann
, who both successfully defended their theses in 2013.

In a collaborative effort with the Tsai lab we published recently a Nature paper titled 'Trapping the dynamic acyl carrier protein in fatty acid biosynthesis'.

Summer 2013

In June 2013 we went to Mexico for our annual lab retreat!

Kosa2012Fall 2012

We welcome Matt Jaremko
in our lab! He comes to us from Hawaii, where he received his Master's from the University of Hawaii working under Dr. Jian Yu on the biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates. In the Burkart lab he will focus on structure elucidation of carrier proteins.

Check out Nick Kosa
's Nature Methods paper on reversible tagging of carrier proteins, highlighted in UCSD news and C&EN news.

Soon more on algae biofuel and biotechnology.

Summer 2012

On Wednesday, June 6, 2012, Jillian L. Blatti defended succesfully her thesis titled "Investigating fatty acid biosynthesis within the algal chloroplast using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model". Congratulations!

Congratulations to all the undergraduates!

We welcome Dr. Heri Rivera
, Kara Finzel, and Jen Michaud to our lab!

Jen Michaud, Boston University, joins the lab to apply her algae-to-biofuels experience to exploration of fatty acid biosynthesis in microalgae.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011, Bob Haushalter defended succesfully his thesis titled 'Investigating Molecular Interactions in Modified Acyl Carrier Protein'. Congratulations!

Summer 2011

Burkart Laboratory v2.0

The Burkart lab has evolved yet again. The remnants of the fore founders have slowly dissipated, and they will be all but a memory in the upcoming months. The new members have brought with them a contagious vigor and spirit, an enthusiasm that has inspired lab elders. With an evolving laboratory comes new and exciting science. Recent organization has created a thriving environment for each lab section to focus on solving a broad scientific goal. A ‘green’ tinge continues to infiltrate the lab as the algae group expands to explore various renewable energy prospects, from algal biofuels to green coproducts.

Congratulations to the most recent doctoral graduates:

On Thursday, May 27th, 2010, Gene Hur defended his thesis entitled "Crosslinking Studies in Natural Products Biosynthesis." He is currently at the University of California, San Francisco studying under Professor Fujimori.

On Wednesday, March 10th, 2010, Brian Jones delivered his thesis presentation, “Synthetic Studies Toward the Pladienolide and Spirohexenolide Natural Products." He is now a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute Florida working under Professor Roush.

 Welcome to the newest faces in the Burkart Lab:

John (David) Lee hails from UC Santa Cruz, where he worked under Professor Bakthan Singaram. Following an internship at Intel Labs, John now resides in the Burkart lab where he is working towards the structural and functional characterization of proteins involved in fatty acid and polyketide biosynthesis using multidimensional NMR techniques.

Lori Tallorin received her undergraduate degree from UCLA, where she worked under Professor Jon Fukuto, and obtained an M.S. from Cal-State LA working under Professor Matthias Selke. Her current efforts in the Burkart lab involve screening potential anti-malarial agents that inhibit the activity of enoyl reductase domains. 

Ian McCulloch received his undergraduate degree from Reed College where he worked on the asymmetric synthesis of alkyl serine derivatives. His current project involves developing chemical probes for studying flavoenzymes.

Nathan Schoepp recently obtained a chemistry degree from UCSD, where he worked as an undergraduate in the Trogler, Mayfield, and Burkart labs. He will continue to work in the Burkart lab on an M.S. thesis project aimed at developing coproducts from algae. Nathan will also resume his efforts with large scale production of algae biomass.


Welcome to our newest postdoctoral fellows:

Dr. Eva Sonnenschein has arrived from Jacobs University (Bremen, Germany) and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (Bremen, Germany) where she worked under Prof. Matthias Ullrich. Currently in the Burkart lab, Eva works on metabolic engineering of microalgae to optimize crop protection in biofuel production.

Dr. Fumihiro Ishikaba has come to the Burkart lab from Osaka Prefecture University where he worked under Professor Ikuo Fujii. His efforts in the Burkart lab are directed towards the development of chemical probes for fatty acid and polyketide synthase dehydratase domains.

Winter 2010

~A New Era in the Burkart Lab~

As the last wave of the lab's founding members move on to the next phases of their careers, and new faces begin to appear all around us - working hard to keep up the legacy that was established by legends, a new era has arisen in the Burkart lab.  A new decade, a new face.  It is met not with sadness, but with joy, a new vigor and life to carry forward the findings of those who came before us.  They will not be forgotten.  Their spirits remain.  We wish them all the best in their newest endeavors.  GOOD LUCK!!!

Congratulations to the recent doctoral graduates:

On Wednesday, January 27, 2010, Timothy Foley delivered his thesis entitled "Manipulating Posttranslational Modification in Natural Product Biosynthesis," and he will soon be taking a postdoctoral position at the NIH's Chemical Genomics Center in Bethesda, Maryland. 

On Tuesday, December 09, 2008, Andrew Worthington gracefully defended his thesis: "Chemoenzymatic Investigations of Protein-Protein Interactions in Carrier Protein-Mediated Biosynthesis." Andy is currently a Research Scientist at Worthington Biochemical Corporation.

Finally, Jordan Meier successfully defended his thesis on Tuesday, June 23, 2009, designated "Synthetic Active Site Probes for PKS and NRPS Biosynthetic Enzymes." Jordan is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech with Professor Peter Dervan.

Welcome to the new faces in the Burkart Lab:

Nick Kosa, graduating from the University of Texas, Austin, has come into the lab to characterize the activation of carrier proteins via phosphopantetheinyltransferases (PPTases) in hopes of harnessing their common functionality using custom CoA probes to quantify activity.

Justin Hammons, graduating from the University of California, Davis, is working towards the synthesis and biological activity of natural products and their analogues.

Dan Fox, coming to us from California State University at San Marcos, is diligently working on the chemoenzymatic synthesis of arabinosyl-2’-fluoro-2’-deoxy NAD+.

Chris Vickery, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, has joined the lab to aid in efforts towards the chemoenzymatic synthesis of CoA analogues.

And finally, Mike Wuo has translated his skills acquired working as an undergraduate researcher in the Burkart lab to investigate protein-protein interactions between NRPS modules.

Welcome to our new postdoctoral fellow:

Dr. Joris Beld has just arrived from the ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where he received his PhD on ‘Small-molecule diselenides as probes for oxidative protein folding’ in the lab of Don Hilvert. He is continuing the DISCODE project by developing bioassays on polycarbonate.


Our lab was featured in a recent ACS Chemical Biology podcast [Vol. 9 Issue 9]. Listen here!

Check out our activities!

New paper in Angewandte!



Recent papers

Beld, J., Lee, D. J., & Burkart, M. D. (2015). Fatty acid biosynthesis revisited: structure elucidation and metabolic engineering. Molecular BioSystems11(1), 38-59.

Tallorin, L., Lindert, S., Nguyen, Q. G., Burkart, M. D., & McCammon, J. A. (2015). In silico screening for Plasmodium falciparum enoyl-ACP reductase inhibitors. Journal of computer-aided molecular design29(1), 79-87.

Shakya G, Rivera H Jr, Lee DJ, Jaremko MJ, La Clair JJ, Fox DT, Haushalter RW, Schaub AJ, Bruegger J, Barajas JF, White AR, Kaur P, Gwozdziowski ER, Wong F, Tsai SC, Burkart MD. (2014). Modeling Linear and Cyclic PKS Intermediates through Atom Replacement. Journal of the American Chemical Society,136(48), 16792-16799.

Beld, J., Cang, H., & Burkart, M. D. (2014). Visualizing the Chain‐Flipping Mechanism in Fatty‐Acid Biosynthesis. Angewandte Chemie International Edition53(52), 14456-14461.

Beld, J., Finzel, K., & Burkart, M. D. (2014). Versatility of Acyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Synthetases. Chemistry & biology21(10), 1293-1299.

Tallorin, L., Durrant, J. D., Nguyen, Q. G., McCammon, J. A., & Burkart, M. D. (2014). Celastrol inhibits Plasmodium falciparum enoyl-acyl carrier protein reductase. Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry22(21), 6053-6061.

Beld, J., Blatti, J. L., Behnke, C., Mendez, M., & Burkart, M. D. (2014). Evolution of acyl-ACP thioesterases and β-ketoacyl-ACP synthases revealed by protein–protein interactions. Journal of applied phycology26(4), 1619-1629.