Professor William M. Wuest

Professor William M. Wuest, Ph.D.
Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator
Professor of Chemistry
Emory University

Slaying Superbugs One Natural Product at a Time

The importance of natural products as anticancer and antibiotic compounds is undisputed due to their wide application as potent and effective pharmaceuticals. In contrast to broad-spectrum agents, the development of species-specific, “narrow- spectrum” antibacterials would be of interest to the medical community serving as novel therapeutics and also to microbiologists as chemical probes to deconvolute complex bacterial communities. Over the past decade our group has looked to Nature for inspiring chemical scaffolds and has leveraged diverted total synthesis (DTS) to study bacteria. The talk will highlight recent efforts from our lab using DTS in antibiotic discovery and development; covering antibiotic synthesis, biological evaluation, and target identification.

William M. Wuest

Professor Wuest was born on Long Island, NY in 1981. He received his B.S. magna cum laude in Chemistry/ Business from the University of Notre Dame in 2003. As an undergraduate, he investigated intramolecular hydroamination reactions under the tutelage of Professor Paul Helquist. Bill then moved to Philadelphia, PA to begin his graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania working with Professor Amos B. Smith, III. His graduate work focused on both the total synthesis of peloruside A and the development of Anion Relay Chemistry (ARC) culminating with a Ph.D. in 2008. Bill then traveled to Harvard Medical School as a Ruth Kirschstein-NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Christopher T. Walsh, where he investigated unusual enzymatic transformations in the construction of non-ribosomal peptide natural products. 

In July of 2011, Bill began his independent career as an Assistant Professor at Temple University, was named the Daniel Swern Early Career Professor of Chemistry in 2016, and received tenure in 2017. He moved to Emory University as an Associate Professor of Chemistry with tenure and also as the inaugural Georgia Research Alliance Distinguished Investigator that same year. In 2021 he was promoted to his current position of Professor of Chemistry. His research focuses on the modification of natural products through total synthesis in an effort to develop innovative, pathogen- specific therapeutics. Bill is the recipient of a number of awards including the NIH ESI Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA), NSF CAREER Award, the 2017 ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award, the 2020 David W. Robertson Award from the ACS Division of Medicinal Chemistry, the New Investigator Award from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, the Thieme Journal of Chemistry Award, the Young Investigator Award from the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University, and the Italia- Eire Foundation Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award from the College of Science and Technology at Temple University. He has also been selected as an Alan Leshner Public Engagement Fellow by the AAAS, a Scialog Fellow by the RCSA, and a SVPR Faculty Leadership Fellow by the Office of Research at Emory.

Hosted by Professor Erin Carlson

Start date
Thursday, April 11, 2024, 9:45 a.m.
End date
Thursday, April 11, 2024, 11:15 a.m.

331 Smith Hall
Zoom Link