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  • Erin E. Carlson

    Associate Professor

    • Chemical Biology, cell wall imaging, proteomics
    • Organic Chemistry, probe synthesis, natural products
    • Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry, mass spectrometry, separations
    • Nanoscience & Materials Chemistry
    • Environmental & Green Chemistry
    • B.S. St. Olaf College, 2000
    • Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 2005 (Laura L. Kiessling)
    • Post Doctorate The Scripps Research Institute, 2006-2008 (Benjamin F. Cravatt)
    Office: 341 Smith Hall

Principal Research Interests

To meet the challenges of antibiotic resistance and specter of a post-antibiotic era, the Carlson lab is pursuing the discovery of the master regulators of bacterial growth and communication and ultimately, the identification of new antibiotics through the application of diverse tools at the interface of chemistry and biology. We are currently pursuing four intersecting objectives:

  1. development and application of powerful strategies to explore and interpret the molecular language used by bacteria to respond to environmental cues using a combination of mass spectrometry, informatics and novel separation reagents; 
  2. pursuit of the generation of chemical probes and inhibitors for the global profiling and inhibition of histidine kinases, a ubiquitous class of proteins essential for signal transduction in bacteria; and
  3. to deepen our understanding of the multi-protein systems that dictate bacterial growth and division, we are designing selective probes for imaging and proteomics with specific focus on the penicillin-binding proteins;
  4. explore the molecular-level interactions between organisms and nanoparticles to guide the development of environmentally benign nanotechnology. 

Each of our research objectives is independently important for potential therapeutic development. However, it is our focus on the synergy between multiple areas that is the foundation for our unique ability to detect, interrupt and exploit the master regulators of bacterial behavior.

Image of some of Professor Carlson's research

Honors and Awards

  • Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee (2017)
  • Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) recipient (2013; awarded 2016)
  • Sloan Research Fellow (2013-present)
  • Indiana University (IU) Dean's Fellow (2013-2014)
  • Cottrell Scholar Award (2012-2014)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2012-2017)
  • IU Outstanding Junior Faculty Award (2012)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director's New Innovator Award (DP2, 2011-2016)
  • Pew Biomedical Scholar (2010-2014)
  • NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00, 2007-2011)
  • American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow (2006-2007)
  • Ralph F. Hirshmann - Daniel H. Rich Graduate Award in Bio-organic Chemistry (2005)
  • NIH Predoctoral Fellow, Biotechnology Training Program (2001-2004)
  • American Institute of Chemists Foundation: Outstanding Senior Student (2000)
  • Phi Lambda Upsilon (Honorary Chemical Society, 2000)
  • Phi Beta Kappa (Academic Honor Society, 2000)

Mailing Address

  • Erin E. Carlson, University of Minnesota, Department of Chemistry
  • B-15, 139 Smith Hall, 207 Pleasant St SE
  • Minneapolis, MN 55455-0431