Laura L. Kiessling

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Laura L. Kiessling
Born Lake Mills, Wisconsin
Nationality United States
Alma mater

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Yale University
Known for Research on multivalent protein-carbohydrate interactions; carbohydrate polymers
Scientific career
Fields Chemical Biology
Institutions University of Wisconsin–Madison

Laura L. Kiessling is an American chemist, Steenbock Professor of Chemistry and Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on elucidating and exploiting the mechanisms of cell surface recognition processes, especially those involving protein-glycan interactions. Another major interest of her group is multivalency and its role in recognition and signal transduction. Her research combines tools from organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, structural biology, and molecular and cell biology.[1][2]


After earning a B.S. in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1983) and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University (1989), where she worked with Stuart Schreiber, Kiessling spent two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral Fellow in the research group of Peter B. Dervan. In 1991, she joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1991.[3]


In addition to her current positions in the departments of chemistry and biochemistry at UW-Madison, she is the director of both the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics and the NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program as well as the editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.[4][5][6]

In the first ten years of her career, Kiessling garnered a NSF National Young Investigator Award, Zeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award, a Dreyfus[disambiguation needed] Teacher-Scholar Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, American Chemical Society (ACS) Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and was selected as one of the fifty top research and development “stars to watch” by Industry Week.[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] Kiessling is also the cofounder of Quintessence Biosciences, a company that is working to translate her technological advances into cures for various diseases.[14]

Laura Kiessling is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Microbiology, National Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Academy of the Arts and Sciences. Since 2005 she has served as editor–in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.[15][16][17][18] She is also a member of the Board of Scientific Governors of The Scripps Research Institute.[19] During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Kiessling worked at Caltech, in the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, studying chemoselective reactions for biology.[20]

Selected honors and awards[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • Gestwicki, J. E.; Cairo, C. W.; Strong, L. E.; Oetjen, K. A.; Kiessling, L. L. (2002). "Influencing Receptor – Ligand Binding Mechanisms with Multivalent Ligand Architecture". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124: 14922–14933. doi:10.1021/ja027184x. 

Showed that the multivalent ligands (compounds that possess multiple binding groups) can act by different mechanisms to create different types of macromolecular assemblies.

Demonstration that multivalent ligands can be used to cluster proteins and activate signaling. Found that the bacterial chemoreceptors work together like a nose to sense and respond to compounds in their environment.

Found that multifunctional multivalent ligands can be used to elicit a specific cell response. Polymers that co-cluster a receptor on B cells (the B cell receptor) with a carbohydrate-binding protein (CD22) dampen immune responses.

Polysaccharides are the most abundant organic molecules on Earth but how their length is controlled is not known. This publication puts forth a general mechanism for controlling the length of a polysaccharide.

Carbohydrate polymerases mediate the assembly of polysaccharides composed of different sequences and structures. Are the polymerases highly selective for generating specific sequences? This publication examines carbohydrate polymerase fidelity and shows that these enzymes can be faithful not promiscuous.

  • Borrok, M. J.; Kiessling, L. L. (2007). "Non-Carbohydrate Inhibitors of the Lectin DC-SIGN". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129: 12780–12785. doi:10.1021/ja072944v. 

A rare example of a small molecule that is a potent monovalent blocker of a lectin (IC50 value ~ 1 μM).

A new and unexpected role for glycosaminoglycans interactions in maintaining the pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells. Draws on insights learned from investigating multivalent protein–carbohydrate interactions.

  • Dykhuizen, E. C.; May, J. F.; Tongpenyai, A.; Kiessling, L. L. "Inhibitors of UDP-Galactopyranose Mutase Thwart Mycobacterial Growth". 2008". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130: 6706–6707. doi:10.1021/ja8018687. 
  • Kolonko, E. M.; Kiessling, L. L. "A polymeric domain that promotes cellular internalization". 2008". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130: 5626–5627. doi:10.1021/ja8001716. 
  • Underbakke, E. S.; Zhu, Y.; Kiessling, L. L. "Isotope-Coded Affinity Tags with Tunable Reactivites for Protein Footprinting". 2008". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 47: 9677–9680. doi:10.1002/anie.200803378. 
  • Carlson, C. B.; Mowery, P.; Owen, R. M.; Dykhuizen, E. C.; Kiessling, L. L. "Selective Tumor Cell Targeting Using Low Affinity Multivalent Interactions". 2007". ACS Chem. Biol. 2: 119–127. doi:10.1021/cb6003788. 
  • Puffer, E. B.; Pontrello, J. K.; Hollenbeck, J. J.; Kink, J. A.; Kiessling, L. L. "Activating B Cell Signaling with Defined Multivalent Ligands". 2007". ACS Chem. Biol. 2: 252–262. doi:10.1021/cb600489g. 
  • Kiessling, L. L.; Gestwicki, J. E.; Strong, L. E. (2006). "Synthetic Ligands as Probes of Signal Transduction." 2006". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 45: 2348–2368. doi:10.1002/anie.200502794. 
  • Pontrello, J. K.; Allen, M. J.; Underbakke, E. S.; Kiessling, L. L. "Solid-Phase Synthesis of Polymers Using the Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization". 2005". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 127: 14536–14537. doi:10.1021/ja053931p. 
  • He, Y.; Hinklin, R. J.; Chang, J.; Kiessling, L. L. "Stereoselective N-Glycosylation by Staudinger Ligation." 2004". Org. Lett. 6: 4479–4482. doi:10.1021/ol048271s. 
  • Soltero-Higgin, M. L.; Carlson, E. E.; Gruber, T. D.; Kiessling, L. L. "A Unique Catalytic Mechanism for UDP-Galactopyranose Mutase" 2004". Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 11: 539–543. PMID 15133501. doi:10.1038/nsmb772. 
  • Young, T.; Kiessling, L. L. "A Strategy for the Synthesis of Sulfated Peptides". 2002". Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 41: 3449–3451. doi:10.1002/1521-3773(20020916)41:18<3449::aid-anie3449>;2-u. 
  • Gestwicki, J. E.; Cairo, C. W.; Strong, L. E.; Oetjen, K. A.; Kiessling, L. L. "Influencing Receptor - Ligand Binding Mechanisms with Multivalent Ligand Architecture". 2002". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 124: 14922–14933. doi:10.1021/ja027184x. 
  • Bertozzi, C. R.; Kiessling, L. L. (March 2001). "Chemical Glycobiology". Science. 291: 2357–64. Bibcode:2001Sci...291.2357B. PMID 11269316. doi:10.1126/science.1059820. 
  • Hinklin, R. J.; Kiessling, L. L. "Glycosyl Sulfonylcarbamates: New Glycosyl Donors with Tunable Reactivity". 2001". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 123: 3379–3380. doi:10.1021/ja005735i. 
  • Nilsson, B. L.; Kiessling, L. L.; Raines, R. T. (2000). "Staudinger Ligation: A Peptide from a Thioester and Azide". Org. Lett. 2 (13): 1939–1941. PMID 10891196. doi:10.1021/ol0060174. 
  • Maki, N.; Gestwicki, J. E.; Kiessling, L. L.; Adler, J. (2000). "Motility and Chemotaxis of Filamentous Cells of Escherichia coli". J. Bacteriol. 182: 4337–4342. doi:10.1128/jb.182.15.4337-4342.2000. 


  1. ^ "Laura L. Kiessling | Faculty | Biochemistry | UW-Madison". 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  2. ^ "kiesslin | UW Madison - Department of Chemistry". doi:10.1002/anie.201300293. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Chemistry-Biology Interface Research Training Program Institutions". 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  6. ^ Laura L. Kiessling (ed.). "ACS Chemical Biology" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  7. ^ "Researchers Open New Line of Attack on Tuberculosis | NSF - National Science Foundation". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  8. ^ "Chemical Society appoints Laura L. Kiessling to lead major new initiative in chemical biology | EurekAlert! Science News". 2005-05-09. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  9. ^ "Symposia". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  10. ^ "2008 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  11. ^ "American Chemical Society - American Chemical Society". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  12. ^ "Class of 1999 - MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  13. ^ a b Vivian Pospisil (2004-12-21). "50 R&D Stars To Watch". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society |". Archived from the original on 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ Sakai, Jill (2007-05-01). "Two faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  18. ^ "Laura Kiessling". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  19. ^ The Scripps Research Institute Board of Scientific Governors
  20. ^ "Laura Kiessling receives 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  21. ^ "ACS 2014 National Award Winners | September 9, 2013 Issue - Vol. 91 Issue 36 | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2016-10-09. 
  22. ^ Barncard, Chris (2011-04-29). "Eight faculty members appointed to WARF named professorships". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  23. ^ "2010 ACS Fellows | ACS News | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  24. ^ "Vilas Associates Competition - Research Funding". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  25. ^ September 30, 2008 (2008-09-30). "YaleNews | Yale Awards Wilbur Cross Medals to Five Alumni". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  26. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Fellows". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  27. ^ "National Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  29. ^ "American Chemical Society - American Chemical Society". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 3, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  31. ^ "The Harrison Howe Award - Past Recipients". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  32. ^ "Alphabetical Index of Active Members" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  33. ^ "Carbohydrate Research Award for Creativity in Carbohydrate Chemistry | International Carbohydrate Organization". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 17, 2012. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Isbell Awardees - Division of Carbohydrate Chemistry". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  36. ^ "MacArthur Fellows Program — MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  37. ^ "American Chemical Society - American Chemical Society". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  38. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved April 8, 2010. 
  39. ^ "Past Fellows". 2016-03-22. Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  40. ^ "News". Retrieved 2016-07-02. 
  41. ^ "Laura L. Kiessling". Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation. 

External links[edit]