Department of Chemistry

College of Letters & Science
Andrew Buller

Email address: arbuller@wisc.edu

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Buller Group
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Assistant Professor
Chemical Biology

B.S/B.A. 2008, University of Iowa
Ph.D. 2013, Johns Hopkins University
Postdoctoral fellow at California Institute of Technology, 2013-17

abuller's picture

Research Description

Protein engineering, biocatalysis, enzymology, chemical biology

The chemical diversity of nature is based upon a limited set of metabolites. Simple building blocks, such as amino acids, are transformed into complex natural products that are the basis for many clinically used pharmaceuticals as well as consumer products and diagnostic tools. The Buller lab will develop strategies to widen the chemical space that is accessible to biology by engineering enzymes to functionalize non-natural precursors into useful building blocks.

Our research will advance our understanding of how to engineer new biocatalytic reactions, a major challenge in enzymology. We will contribute to green chemistry by focusing on enzymes that perform challenging chemical reactions in aqueous environments with high selectivity. Interfacing the resultant catalysts with existing metabolic pathways will enable expansion of metabolic pathways to include novel functional groups. Our long-term goals are to use this non-natural metabolism to probe biological systems and to engineer pathways for the sustainable biosynthesis of natural product analogs with altered pharmacologic properties.

Awards and Honors

Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, National Institutes of Health 2015-17

Selected Publications

Perkins LJ, Weaver BR, Buller AR, Burstyn JN. De novo biosynthesis of a nonnatural cobalt porphyrin cofactor in E. coli and incorporation into hemoproteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2021;118.
Watkins-Dulaney EJ, Dunham NP, Straathof S, Turi S, Arnold FH, Buller AR. Asymmetric Alkylation of Ketones Catalyzed by Engineered TrpB. Angewandte Chemie-International Edition. 2021;.
Kumar P, Meza A, Ellis JM, Carlson GA, Bingman CA, Buller AR. L-Threonine Transaldolase Activity Is Enabled by a Persistent Catalytic Intermediate. ACS Chemical Biology. 2021;16:86-95.
Thompson CM, McDonald AD, Yang HM, Cavagnero S, Buller AR. Modular control ofl-tryptophan isotopic substitutionviaan efficient biosynthetic cascade. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. 2020;18:4189-4192.
Beasley MS, Lumley MA, Janicki TD, Fernandez RL, Manger LH, Tucholski T, et al. Student-Led Climate Assessment Promotes a Healthier Graduate School Environment. Journal of Chemical Education. American Chemical Society; 2020;97:643-650.