Research Summary

My research group is engaged at the interface of chemistry and biology. As medicinal chemists, we design and synthesize small molecules that modulate disease pathology at the level of the enzyme, cell, and whole animal, with active projects in cancer, infectious disease, and neurodegeneration. Our group also developed a parallel synthetic methodology to produce a library of disulfide 'fragments', thereby enabling cysteine-disulfide (Tethering) screening at UCSF. Finally, we design, synthesize and validate novel small molecule probes for the study of labile ferrous iron in biology and disease. Most recently, we described the first of a new class of activity-based probes for proximity labelling of proteins in an iron-dependent fashion, thus enabling the first chemoproteomic studies of the labile iron 'interactome'.

Research Funding

  • May 29, 2013 - August 31, 2023 - Chemical Methods for Ferrous Iron Dependent Drug Delivery, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIAID, Sponsor Award ID: R01AI105106
  • February 1, 2019 - January 31, 2021 - Discovery of Novel Antimalarial Leads Targeting Translational Repression in Plasmodium parasites, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIAID, Sponsor Award ID: R21AI135495
  • March 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021 - Expanding the Chemical Biology of K2P Channels with Selective Cellular and In vivo Probes, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIMH, Sponsor Award ID: R01MH116278
  • December 4, 2017 - November 30, 2019 - Biophysical Fragment Screening and Structure Determination for Class A, B, and D Carbapenemases, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NIAID, Sponsor Award ID: R21AI135489


St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, B.A., 05/1993, Chemistry
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D., 05/1998, Organic Chemistry
The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, Postdoctoral, 12/2000, Molecular Recognition

Selected Publications

  1. Kemp MT, Nichols DA, Zhang X, Defrees K, Na I, Renslo AR, Chen Y. Mutation of the conserved Asp-Asp pair impairs the structure, function, and inhibition of CTX-M Class A β-lactamase. FEBS Lett. 2021 Oct 26.  View on PubMed
  2. Kim GJ, Mo H, Liu H, Wu Z, Chen S, Zheng J, Zhao X, Nucum D, Shortland J, Peng L, Elepano M, Tang B, Olson S, Paras N, Li H, Renslo AR, Arkin MR, Huang B, Lu B, Sirota M, Guo S. A zebrafish screen reveals Renin-angiotensin system inhibitors as neuroprotective via mitochondrial restoration in dopamine neurons. Elife. 2021 09 22; 10.  View on PubMed
  3. Gonciarz RL, Renslo AR. Emerging role of ferrous iron in bacterial growth and host-pathogen interaction: New tools for chemical (micro)biology and antibacterial therapy. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2021 04; 61:170-178.  View on PubMed
  4. Gonciarz RL, Collisson EA, Renslo AR. Ferrous Iron-Dependent Pharmacology. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2021 01; 42(1):7-18.  View on PubMed
  5. Zhao N, Huang Y, Wang YH, Muir RK, Chen YC, Wei J, Hooshdaran N, Viswanath P, Seo Y, Ruggero D, Renslo AR, Evans MJ. Ferronostics: Measuring Tumoral Ferrous Iron with PET to Predict Sensitivity to Iron-Targeted Cancer Therapies. J Nucl Med. 2021 Jul 01; 62(7):949-955.  View on PubMed
  6. Jílková A, Rubešová P, Fanfrlík J, Fajtová P, Rezácová P, Brynda J, Lepšík M, Mertlíková-Kaiserová H, Emal CD, Renslo AR, Roush WR, Horn M, Caffrey CR, Mareš M. Druggable Hot Spots in the Schistosomiasis Cathepsin B1 Target Identified by Functional and Binding Mode Analysis of Potent Vinyl Sulfone Inhibitors. ACS Infect Dis. 2021 05 14; 7(5):1077-1088.  View on PubMed
  7. Chen YC, Oses-Prieto JA, Pope LE, Burlingame AL, Dixon SJ, Renslo AR. Reactivity-Based Probe of the Iron(II)-Dependent Interactome Identifies New Cellular Modulators of Ferroptosis. J Am Chem Soc. 2020 11 11; 142(45):19085-19093.  View on PubMed
  8. Blank BR, Gonciarz RL, Talukder P, Gut J, Legac J, Rosenthal PJ, Renslo AR. Antimalarial Trioxolanes with Superior Drug-Like Properties and In Vivo Efficacy. ACS Infect Dis. 2020 07 10; 6(7):1827-1835.  View on PubMed
  9. Bashore C, Jaishankar P, Skelton NJ, Fuhrmann J, Hearn BR, Liu PS, Renslo AR, Dueber EC. Cyanopyrrolidine Inhibitors of Ubiquitin Specific Protease 7 Mediate Desulfhydration of the Active-Site Cysteine. ACS Chem Biol. 2020 06 19; 15(6):1392-1400.  View on PubMed
  10. Huff TC, Camarena V, Sant DW, Wilkes Z, Van Booven D, Aron AT, Muir RK, Renslo AR, Chang CJ, Monje PV, Wang G. Oscillatory cAMP signaling rapidly alters H3K4 methylation. Life Sci Alliance. 2020 01; 3(1).  View on PubMed
  11. Pemberton OA, Jaishankar P, Akhtar A, Adams JL, Shaw LN, Renslo AR, Chen Y. Heteroaryl Phosphonates as Noncovalent Inhibitors of Both Serine- and Metallocarbapenemases. J Med Chem. 2019 09 26; 62(18):8480-8496.  View on PubMed
  12. Griffin AL, Jaishankar P, Grandjean JM, Olson SH, Renslo AR, Baraban SC. Zebrafish studies identify serotonin receptors mediating antiepileptic activity in Dravet syndrome. Brain Commun. 2019; 1(1):fcz008.  View on PubMed
  13. Ehrnhoefer DE, Skotte NH, Reinshagen J, Qiu X, Windshügel B, Jaishankar P, Ladha S, Petina O, Khankischpur M, Nguyen YTN, Caron NS, Razeto A, Meyer Zu Rheda M, Deng Y, Huynh KT, Wittig I, Gribbon P, Renslo AR, Geffken D, Gul S, Hayden MR. Activation of Caspase-6 Is Promoted by a Mutant Huntingtin Fragment and Blocked by an Allosteric Inhibitor Compound. Cell Chem Biol. 2019 09 19; 26(9):1295-1305.e6.  View on PubMed
  14. Blank BR, Talukder P, Muir RK, Green ER, Skaar EP, Renslo AR. Targeting Mobilization of Ferrous Iron in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection with an Iron(II)-Caged LpxC Inhibitor. ACS Infect Dis. 2019 08 09; 5(8):1366-1375.  View on PubMed
  15. DeFrees K, Kemp MT, ElHilali-Pollard X, Zhang X, Mohamed A, Chen Y, Renslo AR. An Empirical Study of Amide-Heteroarene π-Stacking Interactions Using Reversible Inhibitors of a Bacterial Serine Hydrolase. Org Chem Front. 2019 Jun 07; 6(11):1749-1756.  View on PubMed
  16. Torelli NJ, Akhtar A, DeFrees K, Jaishankar P, Pemberton OA, Zhang X, Johnson C, Renslo AR, Chen Y. Active-Site Druggability of Carbapenemases and Broad-Spectrum Inhibitor Discovery. ACS Infect Dis. 2019 06 14; 5(6):1013-1021.  View on PubMed
  17. Muir RK, Zhao N, Wei J, Wang YH, Moroz A, Huang Y, Chen YC, Sriram R, Kurhanewicz J, Ruggero D, Renslo AR, Evans MJ. Measuring Dynamic Changes in the Labile Iron Pool in Vivo with a Reactivity-Based Probe for Positron Emission Tomography. ACS Cent Sci. 2019 Apr 24; 5(4):727-736.  View on PubMed
  18. Raleigh DR, Sever N, Choksi PK, Sigg MA, Hines KM, Thompson BM, Elnatan D, Jaishankar P, Bisignano P, Garcia-Gonzalo FR, Krup AL, Eberl M, Byrne EFX, Siebold C, Wong SY, Renslo AR, Grabe M, McDonald JG, Xu L, Beachy PA, Reiter JF. Cilia-Associated Oxysterols Activate Smoothened. Mol Cell. 2018 10 18; 72(2):316-327.e5.  View on PubMed
  19. Pope L, Arrigoni C, Lou H, Bryant C, Gallardo-Godoy A, Renslo AR, Minor DL. Protein and Chemical Determinants of BL-1249 Action and Selectivity for K2P Channels. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2018 12 19; 9(12):3153-3165.  View on PubMed
  20. Pemberton OA, Zhang X, Nichols DA, DeFrees K, Jaishankar P, Bonnet R, Adams J, Shaw LN, Renslo AR, Chen Y. Antibacterial Spectrum of a Tetrazole-Based Reversible Inhibitor of Serine β-Lactamases. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2018 08; 62(8).  View on PubMed

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