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Molecular Medicine


Dennis W. Wolan, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Molecular Medicine
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-7936

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.


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

Professional Experience

1999-2005: Ph.D., Ian Wilson laboratory, TSRI, La Jolla, CA
2005-2010: Postdoctoral Fellow, Jim Wells laboratory, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
2010-2016: Assistant Professor, TSRI, La Jolla, CA
2017-present: Associate Professor, TSRI, La Jolla, CA 

Awards & Professional Activities

2012: Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation Recognition Award
2005: Ruth L. Kirschstein NCI/NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship
2003: Skaggs Pre-doctoral Fellowship
2000: National Science Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship 

Member of the American Chemical and International Proteolysis Societies

Selected References

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. online

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. 

Chatterjee, S., Stupp, G.S., Park, S.K., Ducom, J.-C., Yates III, J.R., Su, A.I. and Wolan, D.W. 2016. “A comprehensive and scalable database search system for metaproteomics.” BMC Genomics. 17, 642. 

Backus, K.M., Correia, B.E., Lum, K.M., Forli, S., Horning, B.D., González-Páez, G.E., Chatterjee, S., Lanning, B.R., Teijaro, J.R., Olson, A.J., Wolan, D.W. and Cravatt, B.F. 2016. “Proteome-wide covalent ligand discovery in native biological systems.” Nature. 534, 570-574. 

Vickers, C.J., González-Páez, G.E. and Wolan, D.W. 2013. “Selective detection and inhibition of active caspase-3 in cells with optimized peptides.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 135, 12869-12876.

Molecular Medicine Seminar Series
Center for Physiological Proteomics
Department Contacts

CA Faculty

Asahara, Hiroshi
Balch, William E.
Boddy, Michael
Buxbaum, Joel
Catz, Sergio
Conti, Bruno
D'Lima, Darryl
DerMardirossian, Celine
Deryugina, Elena
Elias, Darlene
Encalada, Sandra
Felding, Brunhilde
Fowler, Velia
Friedlander, Martin
Gerace, Larry
Gottesfeld, Joel
Griffin, John
Hanneken, Anne
Heeb, Mary Jo
Henderson, Scott
Hoch, James
Johnson, Eric
Kanaji, Taisuke
Koziol, James
Lamia, Katja
Lipton, Stuart
Loring, Jeanne F.
Loskutoff, David
Lotz, Martin
Makarenkova, Helen P.
Mc Millan, Robert
Miles, Lindsey
Milner, Richard
Modena, Brian
Mosnier, Laurent
Nicholson, Laura
Paulson, James C.
Perego, Marta
Petrascheck, Michael
Pollard, Kenneth Michael
Quigley, James P.
Reed, Steven
Roberts, Edward
Rosen, Hugh
Ruggeri, Zaverio
Russell, Paul
Saez, Enrique
Smider, Vaughn
Srinivasan, Supriya
Steinhubl, Steven
Sutcliffe, J.
Tan, Eng
Topol, Eric
Vanderklish, Peter
Vogt, Peter K.
Wiseman, Luke
Wittenberg, Curt
Wolan, Dennis W.
Wu, Peng
Wu, Xiaohua
Yang, Xiang-Lei
Yates III, John

FL Faculty

Bannister, Thomas
Bohn, Laura M.
Cameron, Michael
Duckett, Derek
Gill, Matt
Griffin, Patrick
Hansen, Scott
Joazeiro, Claudio
Kamenecka, Theodore
Kissil, Joseph
Luo, Junli
McDonald, Patricia
Miller, Courtney
Phinney, Donald G.
Scampavia, Louis
Schimmel, Paul
Smith, Roy
Spicer, Timothy

Affiliated Faculty

Cline, Hollis
Kojetin, Douglas
Lairson, Luke
Paegel, Brian
Rumbaugh, Gavin
Shen, Ben
Solt, Laura A
Su, Andrew
Wu, Chunlei
Ye, Li

Adjunct Faculty