Source: Interfolio F180

Lucas Leman

Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry


Research Focus

The central theme of our research is to engineer new peptide-based molecules and materials that can interact with biomolecules in useful ways. We also explore potentially prebiotic reactions that could have been involved in early chemical evolution. By devising and synthesizing peptides, peptide nucleic acids, and peptidomimetics, we seek to use these molecules as tools to understand biology and treat disease. To accomplish this, we use a combination of biophysical techniques, molecular and cell biology, and chemical synthesis. Our goal is to provide novel applications in the field of molecular and system engineering as well as advance the fundamental understanding of living chemical processes and the origins of complex chemical networks. Current areas of research involve sequence-adaptive dynamic nucleic acid analogs and synthetic nanolipid particles as high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-mimetics.


Ph.D. (Chemistry), The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, 2006
B.A. (Biochemistry/Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology), University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2001

Selected Publications

Frenkel-Pinter, M.; Haynes, J. W.; Mohyeldin, A. M.; Martin, C.; Sargon, A. B.; Petrov, A. S.; Krishnamurthy, R.; Hud, N. V.; Williams, L. D.; Leman, L. J. Mutually stabilizing interactions between proto-peptides and RNA. Nature Communications 2020, 11.

Chen, P. B.; Black, A. S.; Sobel, A. L.; Zhao, Y. N.; Mukherjee, P.; Molparia, B.; Moore, N. E.; Muench, G. R.; Wu, J. J.; Chen, W. X.; Pinto, A. F.; Maryanoff, B. E.; Saghatelian, A.; Soroosh, P.; Torkamani, A.; Leman, L. J.; Ghadiri, M. R. Directed remodeling of the mouse gut microbiome inhibits the development of atherosclerosis. Nature Biotechnology 2020.

Frenkel-Pinter, M.; Samanta, M.; Ashkenasy, G.; Leman, L. J. Prebiotic Peptides: Molecular Hubs in the Origin of Life. Chemical Reviews 2020, 120, 4707-4765.

Frenkel-Pinter, M.; Haynes, J. W.; Martin, C.; Petrov, A. S.; Burcar, B. T.; Krishnamurthy, R.; Hud, N. V.; Leman, L. J.; Williams, L. D. Selective incorporation of proteinaceous over nonproteinaceous cationic amino acids in model prebiotic oligomerization reactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2019, 116, 16338-16346.

Mukherjee, P.; Leman, L. J.; Leman, L. J.; Griffin, J. H.; Griffin, J. H.; Ghadiri, M. R.; Ghadiri, M. R.; Leman, L. J.; Griffin, J. H.; Ghadiri, M. R. Design of a DNA-Programmed Plasminogen Activator.. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2018, 140, 15516-15524.

Beierle, J. M.; Ura, Y.; Ghadiri, M. R.; Leman, L. J. Templated self-assembly of dynamic peptide nucleic acids. Biochemistry 2018, 57, 160-172.