Erin E. Carlson

portrait of Professor Erin E. Carlson

Erin E. Carlson

Professor, Department of Chemistry


Smith Hall
Room 341
207 Pleasant Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455


Chemistry Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Chemical Biology Initiative


B.S. St. Olaf College, 2000

Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 2005 (Laura L. Kiessling)

Post Doctorate The Scripps Research Institute, 2006-2008 (Benjamin F. Cravatt)


Department of Chemistry Diversity & Inclusion Committee

UMN Chemical Biology Initiative

Research Interests

Chemical Biology: cell wall imaging, proteomics

Organic Chemistry: probe synthesis, natural products

Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry: mass spectrometry, separations

Nanoscience & Materials Chemistry

To meet the challenges of antibiotic resistance and specter of a post-antibiotic era, we are pursuing the discovery of the master regulators of bacterial growth and communication and ultimately, the identification of new antibiotics through the application of diverse tools at the interface of chemistry and biology. We are currently pursuing four intersecting objectives:

  1. developing and applying powerful strategies to explore and interpret the molecular language used by bacteria to respond to environmental cues using a combination of mass spectrometry, informatics and novel separation reagents; 
  2. pursuing of the generation of chemical probes and inhibitors for the global profiling and inhibition of histidine kinases, a ubiquitous class of proteins essential for signal transduction in bacteria; and
  3. deepening our understanding of the multi-protein systems that dictate bacterial growth and division, we are designing selective probes for imaging and proteomics with specific focus on the penicillin-binding proteins;
  4. exploring molecular-level interactions between organisms and nanoparticles to guide the development of environmentally benign nanotechnology. 

Each of our research objectives is independently important for potential therapeutic development. However, it is our focus on the synergy between multiple areas that is the foundation for our unique ability to detect, interrupt and exploit the master regulators of bacterial behavior.

illustrations of Professor Erin Carlson's research
Teaching Subjects
Chemical Biology

Honors and Awards

Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee (2017)

Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient (2013; awarded 2016)

Sloan Research Fellow (2013-present)

Indiana University (IU) Dean's Fellow (2013-2014)

Cottrell Scholar Award (2012-2014)

National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2012-2017)

IU Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2012)

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's New Innovator Award (DP2, 2011-2016)

Pew Biomedical Scholar (2010-2014)

NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00, 2007-2011)

American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow (2006-2007)

Ralph F. Hirshmann - Daniel H. Rich Graduate Award in Bio-organic Chemistry (2005)

NIH Predoctoral Fellow, Biotechnology Training Program (2001-2004)

American Institute of Chemists Foundation: Outstanding Senior Student (2000)

Phi Lambda Upsilon (Honorary Chemical Society, 2000)

Phi Beta Kappa (Academic Honor Society, 2000)

Mailing Address

Erin E. Carlson
University of Minnesota
Department of Chemistry
B-15, 139 Smith Hall
207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431