Welcome to the Burkart Lab

Spring 2017

Congratulations to Dr. Matt Jaremko
! who successfully defended his thesis titled, "Investigating protein-ligand and protein-protein interactions in type II non-ribosomal peptide synthetases"

We came back from our annual lab retreat.


Winter 2017

We welcome Dr. Laëtitia Misson
! She

received his Ph.D in Chemistry at the University of Basel in Switzerland where she studied under the direction of Professor Florian P. Seebeck. Her dissertation centered around the biosynthetic origin of amino acid betaines.

We welcome our new graduate students!

Terra Sztain-Pedone
received her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles under the direction of Professor Helena Chang. Her research focused on identifying epigenetic mechanisms of drug resistance in triple negative breast cancer.

Aochiu Chen
received his B.S. in Chemistry at the National Taiwan University under the direction of Professor Chao-Tsen Chen. He study focused on rational design and synthesizing 4-quinazolinone derivatives as inhibitors for human Rad51 recombinase. He was also in the lab of Professor Tsung-Shing Wang where he studied chemoenzymatic synthesis of fluorescent enterobactin probes for bacterial detection.

Kelsey Krug
received her B.S. in Chemistry at the University of California, San Diego under the direction of Professor Kamil Godula. She investigated the effects of extracellular glycosaminoglycans on neural stem cell differentiation in a microarray setting.


Fall 2016

Congratulations to Dr. John Lee
! who successfully defended his thesis titled, "Structural and biophysical studies of carrier proteins and their cargo"

Congratulations to Dr. Kara Finzel
! who successfully defended her thesis titled, "Developing chemical biology tools to study and engineer fatty acid synthases"


We welcome our new graduate student!

Troy Bemis
received his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Professor Sandro Mecozzi. He studied perfluoronated amphiphilic polymers and their aggregates and its potential use as a theranostic drug delivery vehicle for volatile fluorous anesthetics.

Summer 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Lorillee Tallorin
!who successfully defended her thesis titled, "Utilizing chemical biology and computational tools to understand and engineer metabolic pathways."

We came back from our annual lab retreat.


Spring 2016

Congratulations to Dr. Ian McCulloch
! who successfully defended his thesis titled, "Mechanism-based inhibitors as probes of aerobic flavoenzyme activity."

We welcome Dr. Sho Konno
! He

received his Ph.D in Chemistry at Kyoto University where he studied under the direction of Professor Hideaki Kakeya. His dissertation focused on the development of chemical proteomic probes for adenylation domains in NRPSs.

Winter 2016


Congratulations to Dr. Christopher Vickery

who successfully defended his thesis titled, "Posttranslational modification of natural product biosynthetic enzymes in bacteria and plants."





We welcome our new graduate students!

Katia Charov
received her B.S. in Chemistry Johns Hopkins University under the direction of Professor Caren Freel Meyers. She sudied the mechanistic studies of bacterial isoprenoid biosynthetic enzymes of the methylerythritol phosphate pathway with regards to the design of novel inhibitors.

Warren Chan
received his B.S. in Chemistry at the Washington University in St. Louis under the direction of Professor Timothy Wencewicz. He worked on the total synthesis of Tabtoxinine-beta lactam.

Adriana Corrales
received her B.S. in Biochemistry at the University of Texas (Austin) under the direction of Professor Adrian Keatinge-Clay. Her research focused on synthesizing extender unit analogs for incorporation by carrier proteins of polyketide synthases to produce novel polyketides.

Fall 2015

Another anual Chicken Pot Pie Thanksgiving feast and December Holiday Party!

We welcome Dr. Ashay Patel
, as a postdoctoral fellow in both the Burkart and McCammon research groups. He received Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles under the guidance of Professor Ken N. Houk. His graduate work involved the study of the catalysis, mechanisms, and stereoselectivities of organic and bioogranic reactions using quantum chemical computations.

We welcome Dr. Brian León
. He received his Ph.D in Chemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz where he studied under the direction of Professor Roger G. Linington. His dissertation was titled: “Discovery, Development, and Applications of Natural Products: Abyssomicin 2, Quinoline Amino Alcohols, and Fluorinated Bile Acids”.

Summer 2015

Congrats to our very own Dr. Joris Beld for his new faculty position at Drexel University, School of Medicine. We wish you all the best!

We completed our annual lab retreat and grunion run!

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 his B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Wisconsin. He worked under the direction of Prof. Bhattacharyay. His 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

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

Congrats to Giao Nguyen for finishing her M.S. in 2015!




Congratulations to Dr. Heriberto Rivera
for his new faculty position in the Department of Chemistry at Palomar College!

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
who investigaved the selective structural and functional interactions of Peptidyl Carrier Proteins in Bacillus. He worked under the guidance of Professor Volker Dötsch at the Intistute of Biophysical Chemistry at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. Main.

We welcome Dr. Tony D. Davis
who investigated...... He worked under the guidance of Professor Derek Tan from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center .

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.


Congrats to Dr. Matt Jaremko for successfully defending his thesis!

Congrats to our very own Dr. Kara Finzel for her new faculty position at Hofstra University!

Check out our activities!




Recent papers

León, B., Kashyap, M., Chan, W., Krug, K., Castro, J., LaClair, J. J., & Burkart, M.D. (2017). A Challenging Pie to Splice: Drugging the Spliceosome. Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Finzel, K., Beld, J., Burkart, M. D., & Charkoudian, L. K. (2017).Utilizing Mechanistic Cross-Linking Technology To Study Protein-Protein Interactions: An Experiment Designed for an Undergraduate Biochemistry Lab. Journal of Chemical Education 2017, 94 (3), pp 375–379..

Barajas, J.F., Shakya, G., Moreno, G., Rivera Jr., H., Jackson, D.R., Topper, C.L., Vagstad, A.L., LaClair, J. J., Townsend, C.A., Burkart, M.D., & Tsai, S.C.. (2017). Polyketide mimetics yield structural and mechanistic insights into product template domain function in nonreducing polyketide synthasesProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2017, 114 (21), E4142-E4148.

Szyjka, S.J., Mandal, S., Schoepp, N.G., Tyler, B.M., Yohn, C.B., Poon, Y.S., Villareal, S., Burkart, M.D., Shurin, J.B. & Mayfield, S.P. (2017). Evaluation of phenotype stability and ecological risk of a genetically engineered alga in open pond production. Algal Research 2017, 24 Part A, 378-386