Mark D. Distefano

portrait of professor Mark Distefano

Mark D. Distefano

Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Distinguished University Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry

Contact

Kolthoff Hall
Room 668C
225 Pleasant Street Se
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Education

B.S. Biochemistry and Chemistry, University of California, Berkeley, 1984

Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1989

Post Doctorate California Institute of Technology, 1989-1992

Research Interests

Chemical Biology, protein engineering

Organic Chemistry, bioorganic chemistry

Our group is interested in molecular recognition and catalysis in the context of proteins. Current research is focused on the process of protein prenylation, a key modification that occurs on proteins involved in cellular signaling. Part of the group is studying the enzymes responsible for this process with the ultimate goal of facilitating the development of new anti-cancer, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents. The other major focus concerns the use of protein prenylation to selectively modify proteins for therapeutic applications. Group members use a combination of small molecule- and macromolecule-based methods including organic synthesis, peptide chemistry, enzyme assays, proteomics, recombinant DNA methods and mammalian cell culture.

Cancer cells exhibiting normal characteristics after exposure to a photochemically activated drug
Cancer cells exhibiting normal characteristics after exposure to a photochemically activated drug
Proteomic strategy to identify prenylated proteins
Proteomic strategy to identify prenylated proteins
Mutant forms of farnesyltransferase used to study enzyme specificity
Mutant forms of farnesyltransferase used to study enzyme specificity
Synthetic probes used to study protein prenylation
Synthetic probes used to study protein prenylation
Honors and Awards

Lloyd Reyerson Professorship, 2016

American Chemical Society Fellow, 2014

Distinguished McKnight University Professor, 2011

Merck Professor of Chemistry, 2011

Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Distinguished Teaching Professor, 2006

George W. Taylor/ITAS Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2004

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 1994

American Cancer Society Junior Faculty Research Award, 1994

3M Alumni Assistant Professor, 1992 

Mailing Address

Mark D. Distefano
University of Minnesota
Department of Chemistry
A-8, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431