Dennis Wolan, PhD

Professor Adjunct
Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology


Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology
Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Our laboratory focuses on the identification of small molecule modulators of protein function as novel foundations for therapeutics and as tools for elucidating functional roles of enzymes in biological processes. The Wolan lab employs an arsenal of biophysical and cellular methods to identify new protein targets, improve and develop high throughput screening technology and validate potential lead molecules. Specifically, our efforts target candidate proteins for the identification of small molecule activators and the inhibition of bacterial enzymes involved in the proliferation of human disease.

Functional Proteomics of Human Microbiomes and Disease

Associations between human microbial environments and the onset of human diseases are rapidly materializing. Elucidation of the symbiotic relationships that have evolved between humans and microbes, and of the associated diseases, will provide a wealth of invaluable information that can be exploited in drug discovery. We employ functional proteomics towards the identification of bacterial proteins implicated in disease and the subsequent discovery and iterative design of small molecule regulators of enzyme activity. Our ultimate goal is the moderation of microbiome distribution, activity and host responses via external small molecule intervention as potential foundations for the prevention and treatment of diseases.


Ph.D. (Macromolecular and Cellular Structure and Chemistry), Scripps Research, 2004
B.S. (Chemistry), Bowling Green State University, 1998

Professional Experience

2017-2017 Associate Professor (Joint Appointment), Chemical Physiology, Scripps Research
2017-2017 Associate Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine (MEM), Scripps Research
2013-2017 Assistant Professor (Joint Appointment), Chemical Physiology, Scripps Research
2010-2017 Assistant Professor, Molecular and Experimental Medicine (MEM), Scripps Research
1998-1999 Laboratory Technician, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

Awards & Professional Activities

2005: Ruth L. Kirschstein NCI/NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship
2000: National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship 

Selected References

All Publications

Kitamura, S., Zheng, Q., Woehl, J.L., Solania, A., Chen, E., Dillon, N., Hull, M.V., Kotaniguchi, M., Kitamura, S., Nizet, V., Sharpless, K.B., and Wolan, D.W. 2020 “Sulfur(VI) fluoride exchange (SuFEx)-enabled high-throughput medicinal chemistry.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., in press. 

Yao, Y., Kadam, R.U., Lee, C.-C.D., Woehl, J.L., Wu, N.C., Zhu, X., Kitamura, S., Wilson, I.A., and Wolan, D.W. 2020 “An influenza A hemagglutinin small-molecule fusion inhibitor identified by a new high-throughput fluorescence polarization screen.” Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA, in press.

Solania, A., González-Páez, G.E., and Wolan, D.W. 2019 “A selective and rapid cell-permeable inhibitor of human caspase-3.” ACS Chem. Biol. 14, 2463-2470. 

Kitamura, S., Owensby, A., Wall, D. and Wolan, D.W. 2018. “Lipoprotein signal peptidase inhibitors with antibiotic properties identified through design of a robust in vitro HT platform.” Cell Chem. Biol. 25, 301-308.

Mayers, M.D., Moon, C., Stupp, G.S., Su, A.I. and Wolan, D.W. 2017. “Quantitative metaproteomics and activity-based probe enrichment reveals significant alterations in protein expression from a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease.” J. Proteome Res. 16, 1014-1026.