Laura L. Kiessling

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Laura Kiesling
Laura Lee Kiessling

(1960-09-21) September 21, 1960 (age 58)
NationalityUnited States
EducationMassachusetts Institute of Technology
Yale University
Known forResearch on multivalent protein-carbohydrate interactions; carbohydrate polymers
Scientific career
FieldsChemical Biology
InstitutionsUniversity of Wisconsin–Madison
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Laura Lee Kiessling (born 21 September 1960) is an American chemist and the Novartis Professor of Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[1] Kiessling's research focuses on elucidating and exploiting interactions on the cell surface, especially those mediated by proteins binding to carbohydrates. Multivalent protein-carbohydrate interactions play roles in cell-cell recognition and signal transduction. Understanding and manipulating these interactions provides tools to study biological processes and design therapeutic treatments. Kiessling's interdisciplinary research combines organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, structural biology, and molecular and cell biology.[2][3]


Kiessling earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983 and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University in 1989. At Yale, she worked with Stuart Schreiber to synthesize and study small molecules as probes of biological function. After earning her PhD, Kiessling spent two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, where she worked with Peter B. Dervan to study DNA recognition and cleavage.


In 1991, Kiessling joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin–Madison,[4] where she became the Steenbock Professor of Chemistry and the Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry. While at UW-Madison, Kiessling also became the Director of the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics[5] and the National Institutes of Health Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program.[6] In 2017, she moved to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the Novartis Professor of Chemistry.[7] as well as the editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.[8][9][10]

Kiessling's contributions span the fields of organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, and molecular biology. She has made contributions to the synthesis and study of many biologically active molecules, including glycosyl donors,[11] modified peptides,[12][13] and glycopolymers.[14][15][16] Kiessling's research has used these molecules to probe cell recognition and signal transduction processes (Figure 1).[17] Her research has shown that multivalent ligands (molecules that possess multiple binding groups) can influence receptor-ligand binding mechanisms,[18] activate signaling,[19] and target specific immune responses.[20] These discoveries have potential applications in targeted immunotherapy and disease treatment.[21][20][22]

Figure 1. Overview of research in the Kiessling group. (A) Glycopolymers are synthesized by ring-opening metathesis polymerization. (B) Cell signaling can be mediated by protein-carbohydrate binding. (C) Kiessling's research uses synthetic mimics to study and manipulate the recognition and signal transduction pathways.

Kiessling has received a number of awards and honors in recognition of her research. She received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (popularly called the "MacArthur genius grant") in 1999.[23] In 2007, Kiessling was inducted as a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences,[24] and in 2017, she received the Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry.[25]

Kiessling is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences[26] and the American Chemical Society,[27] as well as an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[28] American Philosophical Society,[29] and American Academy of Microbiology.[30] Since 2005, she has served as the founding editor-in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.[26][31][32][33] Kiessling is also the cofounder of Quintessence Biosciences, a company that is working to translate her technological advances into cures for various diseases.[34] She has been selected as one of the fifty top research and development "Stars to Watch" by Industry Week.[35]

Selected honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Laura L. Kiessling – Kiessling Lab". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  2. ^ "Laura L. Kiessling | Faculty | Biochemistry | UW-Madison". 2016-06-28. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  3. ^ Fishman, Joshua M.; Kiessling, Laura L. (2013). "kiesslin | UW Madison - Department of Chemistry". Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 52 (19): 5061–5064. doi:10.1002/anie.201300293. PMC 3808988. PMID 23568693. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  5. ^ "Foundation supports chemical genomics center". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  6. ^ Kiessling, Laura. "Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program". Grantome. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  7. ^ "Laura L. Kiessling – Kiessling Lab". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  8. ^ "Wisconsin Alumni Association". Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.
  9. ^ "Chemistry-Biology Interface Research Training Program Institutions". 2015-12-09. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  10. ^ Laura L. Kiessling (ed.). "ACS Chemical Biology" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  11. ^ Hinklin, Ronald; Kiessling, Laura (2001). "Glycosyl Sulfonylcarbamates: New Glycosyl Donors with Tunable Reactivity". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 123 (14): 3379–3380. doi:10.1021/ja005735i.
  12. ^ He, Ye; Hinklin, Ronald; Chang, Jiyoung; Kiessling, Laura (2004). "Stereoselective N-Glycosylation by Staudinger Ligation". Organic Letters. 6 (24): 4479–4482. doi:10.1021/ol048271s. PMID 15548055.
  13. ^ Young, Travis; Kiessling, Laura (2002). "A Strategy for the Synthesis of Sulfated Peptides". Angewandte Chemie. 41 (18): 3449–3451. doi:10.1002/1521-3773(20020916)41:18<3449::AID-ANIE3449>3.0.CO;2-U.
  14. ^ Strong, Laura; Kiessling, Laura (1999). "A General Synthetic Route to Defined, Biologically Active Multivalent Arrays". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 121 (26): 6193–6196. doi:10.1021/ja990223t.
  15. ^ Pontrello, Jason; Allen, Matthew; Underbakke, Eric; Kiessling, Laura (2005). "Solid-Phase Synthesis of Polymers Using the Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 127 (42): 14536–14537. doi:10.1021/ja053931p. PMID 16231882.
  16. ^ May, John; Splain, Rebecca; Brotschi, Christine; Kiessling, Laura (2009). "A tethering mechanism for length control in a processive carbohydrate polymerization". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106: 11851–11865.
  17. ^ "Multivalent Carbohydrates As New and Powerful Probes of Signal Transduction | MIT Department of Chemistry". Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  18. ^ Gestwicki, Jason; Cairo, Christopher; Strong, Laura; Oetjen, Karolyn; Kiessling, Laura (2002). "Influencing Receptor−Ligand Binding Mechanisms with Multivalent Ligand Architecture". Journal of the American Chemical Society. 124 (50): 14922–14933. doi:10.1021/ja027184x.
  19. ^ Gestwicki, Jason; Kiessling, Laura (2002). "Inter-receptor communication through arrays of bacterial chemoreceptors". Nature. 415: 81–84.
  20. ^ a b Courtney, Adam; Puffer, Erik; Pontrello, Jason; Yang, Zhi-Qiang; Kiessling, Laura (2009). "Sialylated multivalent antigens engage CD22 in trans and inhibit B cell activation". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106: 2500–2505.
  21. ^ "Researchers Open New Line of Attack on Tuberculosis | NSF - National Science Foundation". Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  22. ^ Carlson, Coby; Mowery, Patricia; Owen, Robert; Dykhuizen, Emily; Kiessling, Laura (2007). "Selective Tumor Cell Targeting Using Low-Affinity, Multivalent Interactions". ACS Chemical Biology. 2 (2): 119–127. CiteSeerX doi:10.1021/cb6003788. PMID 17291050.
  23. ^ a b "MacArthur Fellows Program — MacArthur Foundation". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  24. ^ a b "National Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  25. ^ a b Tetrahedron Prize for Creativity in Organic Chemistry. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  26. ^ a b c "AAAS - The World's Largest General Scientific Society |". Archived from the original on 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  27. ^ a b "2010 ACS Fellows | ACS News | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  28. ^ a b "Alphabetical Index of Active Members" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  29. ^ a b Key, Ellie (2017-05-09). "ACS Chemical Biology EIC Laura L. Kiessling Elected to the American Philosophical Society". ACS Axial. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  30. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ Sakai, Jill (2007-05-01). "Two faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  33. ^ "Laura Kiessling". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved July 18, 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  35. ^ Vivian Pospisil (2004-12-21). "50 R&D Stars To Watch". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  36. ^ Stanchak, Jesse (2016-03-16). "ACS Chemical Biology EIC Laura L. Kiessling Wins 2016 Gibbs Award". ACS Axial. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  37. ^ "ACS 2014 National Award Winners | September 9, 2013 Issue - Vol. 91 Issue 36 | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  38. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Foundation | Fellows". 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  39. ^ "American Chemical Society - American Chemical Society". Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  40. ^ "Arthur C. Cope Scholar Awards". Retrieved 2018-07-30.

External links[edit]