Peter Schultz, PhD

Scripps Family Chair Professor
President and CEO
Department of Chemistry


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

The Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Biological Chemistry

Our research program combines the tools and principles of chemistry with the molecules and processes of living cells to synthesize new molecules and molecular assemblies with novel physical, chemical and biological functions. By studying the structure and function of the resulting molecules, new insights can be gained into the mechanisms of complex biological and chemical systems. Active research projects span the interface of biology, chemistry, and materials science, and include:

  • the development and application of methods for adding new building blocks to the genetic codes of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms
  • the application of molecular diversity to problems in biological structure, recognition and catalysis, drug discovery, and materials science
  • chemical and genomics studies of stem cell biology, oncogenesis and orphan/neglected diseases
  • generation and characterization of catalytic antibodies


B.S., Chemistry, California Institute of Technology
Ph.D., Chemistry, California Institute of Technology

Awards & Professional Activities

Alan T. Waterman Award, National Science Foundation, 1988 Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, American Chemical Society, 1990 American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry, 1990 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1990 Eli Lilly Award in Biological Chemistry, American Chemical Society, 1991 DuPont Merck Young Investigator Award, The Protein Society, 1992 National Academy of Sciences, USA, 1993 Wolf Prize in Chemistry, 1994 California Scientist of the Year Award, 1995 Alfred Bader Award in Bioorganic and Bioinorganic Chemistry, 2000 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Award, 2002 Arthur C. Cope Award, American Chemical Society, 2006

Selected References

Lemke, E.A., Summerer, D., Geierstanger, B.H., Brittain, S.M., Schultz, P.G. "Control of protein phosphorylation with a genetically encoded photocaged amino acid." Nat. Chem. Biol., 3(12):769-772, 2007.

Grünewald, J., Tsao, M.-L., Perera, R., Dong, L., Niessen, F., Kubitz, D.M., Smider, V.V., Ruf, W., Nasoff, M., Lerner, R.A., Schultz, P.G. "Immunochemical Termination of Self-Tolerance." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.,105(32):11276-80, 2008.

Liu, C.C., Mack, A.V., Tsao, M-L., Mills, J.H., Lee, H., Choe, H., Farzan, M., Schultz, P.G., Smider, V.V. "Protein Evolution with an Expanded Genetic Code." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 105(46):17688-93, 2008.

Zhu, S., Wurdak, H., Wang, J., Lyssiotis, C.A., Peters, E.C., Cho, C., Wu, X., Schultz, P.G. "A Small Molecule Primes Embryonic Stem Cells for Differentiation by Targeting NME2." CellStemCell, 4:416-426, 2009.

Lee, H.S., Guo, J., Lemke, E., Dimla, R., Schultz, P.G. "The Genetic Incorporation of a Small, Environmentally Sensitive, Fluorescent Probe into Proteins in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae." J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131(36):12921-3, 2009.

Wu, X., Schultz, P.G. "Synthesis at the Interface of Chemistry and Biology."  J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131(35):12497-515, 2009.

Liu, C.C., Schultz, P.G. "Adding new chemistries to the genetic code." Ann. Rev Biochem, 79:413-44, 2010.

Wurdak, H., Zhu, S., Min, K.H., Aimone, L., Lairson, L.L., Watson, J., Chopiuk, G., Demas, J., Charette, B., Halder, R., Weerapana, E., Cravatt, B.F., Cline, H.T., Peters, E.C., Zhang, J., Walker, J.R., Wu, C., Chang, J., Tuntland, T., Cho, C.Y., Schultz, P.G. “A small molecule accelerates neuronal differentiation in the adult rat.” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 107(38):16542-7, 2010.

Boitano, A.E., Wang, J., Romeo, R., Bouchez, L.C., Parker, A., Sutton, S., Walker, J.R., Tellew, J., Denision, M., Cooke, M.P., Schultz, P.G. "Antagonism of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor results in ex-vivo expansion of hematopoietic stem cells." Science, 329(5997):1345-8, 2010.

Lyssiotis, C.A., Lairson, L.L., Boitano, A.E., Wurdak, H., Zhu, S., Schultz, P.G. "Chemical Control of Stem Cell Fate and Developmental Potential." Angew. Chem., 50(1):200-42, 2011.