Wesleyan portrait of Erika A. Taylor

Erika A. Taylor

Associate Professor of Chemistry

Hall-Atwater Laboratories, 142
860-685-2739

Associate Professor, Environmental Studies

Hall-Atwater Laboratories, 142
860-685-2739

Associate Professor, Integrative Sciences

Hall-Atwater Laboratories, 142
860-685-2739

eataylor@wesleyan.edu

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BS University of Michigan
PHD University of Illinois Urbana

Erika A. Taylor

Research in the Taylor lab involves taking a multi-disciplinary approach to investigate problems at the biological chemistry interface. We strive to find ways to exploit enzymes found in nature to perform chemistry that can help advance the fields of chemistry and medicine, while also employing chemical synthesis to help answer questions of both biological and medical interest. In my lab, we perform enzyme mechanism determination, gene function assignment, enzyme inhibitor design, kinetic profiling of enzymes, computational biochemistry, biophysical characterization and small scale synthetic organic chemistry.

Erika was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Honors Chemistry degree, while also worked on the synthesis of natural product analogue inhibitors for a protein phosphatase that was important for the treatment of cancer. As a graduate student at the Univerisity of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign, she trained extensively in biochemistry, specializing in functional assignment to previously uncharacterized proteins, which gave her the tools to understand enzyme mechanisms and the impact of evolutionary context on the workings of proteins. As a post-doctoroal research associate at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Erika applied her training to the discovery and characterization of inhibitors of nucleotide metabolism which are still being investigated as potential medicines to thwart malaria, a disease that still kills more than 500,000 people in the world each year; this work ranged from enzymatic characteization and inhibition studies to explorations of drug bioavailability in animal models. As a faculty member at Wesleyan, her projects have focused on the identification and characterization of enzymes that are important for (1) the development of antimicrobials for the treatment of Gram-Negative bacterial infections (with an emphasis on bacteria that cause food-bourne illnesses including E. coli, Salmonella, and V. cholerae) and (2) that could improve the efficiency of biomass to biofuel conversion, in particular the breakdown and bacterial utilization of lignin. For more information on her current research please see: https://works.bepress.com/eataylor/.

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