Blake R. Peterson

Blake Peterson headshot

Blake R. Peterson

Professor & Chair
Unit / Department / Division
Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy
606 Riffe Building
Email Address
Phone Number

Professional Interests

Professional Interests

Organic / Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology

The Peterson laboratory synthesizes chemical tools for studies of biological systems. We investigate diverse biological targets, and we extensively employ fluorescence-based and imaging-based methods to evaluate the effects of small molecules on isolated proteins, living cells, and model organisms. Working in the fields of organic / medicinal chemistry and chemical biology, our recent research efforts have been focused on the discovery of new types of anticancer agents, identification of their biomolecular targets, and the synthesis of probes of molecular mechanisms of action.


  • B.S. Chemistry, University of Nevada, Reno, 1990
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, 1994
  • Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University 1995-1998


  • Named the John W. Wolfe Chair in Cancer Research, 2020
  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2013
  • Regents Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, The University of Kansas, 2008-2019
  • Named an Eminent Scholar by the Kansas Bioscience Authority, 2008
  • Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar, 2004
  • American Cancer Society Research Scholar, 2003


  • Exploiting the fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 vulnerability to therapeutically restrict the MYC-EZH2-CDKN1C axis-driven proliferation in Mantle cell lymphoma, Leukemia. 2023 Oct | journal-article. doi: 10.1038/s41375-023-02006-8.
  • Fluorescent Detection of Peroxynitrite Produced by Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Cancer and Inhibition by Dasatinib, ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science. 2023 May | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acsptsci.3c00014.
  • Photoluminescent Properties and Mechanism of Novel Cyanine‐Borondifluoride Curcuminoid Hybrids as Red‐to‐Near Infrared and Endoplasmic Reticulum‐Targeting Dyes, Chemistry – A European Journal. 2023 Apr | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/chem.202300315.
  • Quantification of Engagement of Microtubules by Small Molecules in Living Cells by Flow Cytometry, ACS Bio & Med Chem Au. 2022 Oct | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acsbiomedchemau.2c00031.
  • Pacific Blue-Taxoids as Fluorescent Molecular Probes of Microtubules, Methods in Molecular Biology. 2022 Jan | book-chapter. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-1983-4_28.
  • Synthesis of a fluorinated pyronin that enables blue light to rapidly depolarize mitochondria, RSC Medicinal Chemistry. 2022 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1039/D1MD00395J.
  • Carnosine Protects Macrophages against the Toxicity of Aβ1-42 Oligomers by Decreasing Oxidative Stress, Biomedicines. 2021 Apr | journal-article. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9050477.
  • The C. elegans CHP1 homolog, pbo-1, functions in innate immunity by regulating the pH of the intestinal lumen, PLOS Pathogens. 2020 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008134.
  • Fluorescent detection of peroxynitrite during antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis, Methods in Enzymology. 2020 Jan | book-chapter. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2020.04.001.
  • Synthetic Rhamnose Glycopolymer Cell-Surface Receptor for Endogenous Antibody Recruitment, Biomacromolecules. 2020 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.9b01483.
  • Visible photorelease of liquid biopsy markers following microfluidic affinity-enrichment, Chemical Communications. 2020 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1039/C9CC09598E.
  • Antibody–Drug Conjugate that Exhibits Synergistic Cytotoxicity with an Endosome–Disruptive Peptide, ACS Omega. 2019 Jul | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.9b01585.
  • Small Molecule Inhibitors of the BfrB–Bfd Interaction Decrease Pseudomonas aeruginosa Fitness and Potentiate Fluoroquinolone Activity, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2019 May | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jacs.9b00394.
  • The C. elegans CHP1 homolog, pbo-1, functions in innate immunity by regulating the pH of the intestinal lumen, . 2018 Sep | other. doi: 10.1101/424382.
  • Targeting Fluorescent Sensors to Endoplasmic Reticulum Membranes Enables Detection of Peroxynitrite During Cellular Phagocytosis, ACS Chemical Biology. 2018 Sep | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acschembio.8b00535.
  • Malleilactone is a Burkholderia pseudomallei virulence factor regulated by antibiotics and quorum sensing, Journal of Bacteriology. 2018 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1128/JB.00008-18.
  • Synthesis of a Fluorescent Analogue of Paclitaxel That Selectively Binds Microtubules and Sensitively Detects Efflux by P‐Glycoprotein, Angewandte Chemie. 2017 Jun | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/ange.201703298.
  • Synthesis of a Fluorescent Analogue of Paclitaxel That Selectively Binds Microtubules and Sensitively Detects Efflux by P‐Glycoprotein, Angewandte Chemie International Edition. 2017 Jun | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/anie.201703298.
  • Quantification of Small Molecule–Protein Interactions using FRET between Tryptophan and the Pacific Blue Fluorophore, ACS Omega. 2016 Dec | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.6b00356.
  • Hydrophobic resorufamine derivatives: Potent and selective red fluorescent probes of the endoplasmic reticulum of mammalian cells, Dyes and Pigments. 2016 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.dyepig.2016.05.007.
  • Anticancer/antiviral agent Akt inhibitor-iv massively accumulates in mitochondria and potently disrupts cellular bioenergetics, ACS Chemical Biology. 2015 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/cb500856c.
  • Fluorescent mimics of cholesterol that rapidly bind surfaces of living mammalian cells, Chemical Communications. 2015 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1039/c5cc06325f.
  • Synthesis of Fluorophores that Target Small Molecules to the Endoplasmic Reticulum of Living Mammalian Cells, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 2015 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/anie.201504156.
  • Detection of protein-protein interactions by proximity-driven S NAr reactions of lysine-linked fluorophores, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2014 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja501253b.
  • Efficient and scalable synthesis of 4-carboxy-pennsylvania green methyl ester: A hydrophobic building block for fluorescent molecular probes, Synthesis (Germany). 2014 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1338535.
  • Decreased APOE-containing HDL subfractions and cholesterol efflux capacity of serum in mice lacking Pcsk9, Lipids in Health and Disease. 2013 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-12-112.
  • Novel acid-activated fluorophores reveal a dynamic wave of protons in the intestine of caenorhabditis elegans, ACS Chemical Biology. 2013 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/cb300396j.
  • Hydrophobic analogues of rhodamine B and rhodamine 101: Potent fluorescent probes of mitochondria in living C. elegans, Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.3762/bjoc.8.243.
  • Identification of a small molecule yeast TORC1 inhibitor with a multiplex screen based on flow cytometry, ACS Chemical Biology. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/cb200452r.
  • Interaction of 3β-amino-5-cholestene with phospholipids in binary and ternary bilayer membranes, Langmuir. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/la203589u.
  • Sensitivity of Mitochondrial Transcription and Resistance of RNA Polymerase II Dependent Nuclear Transcription to Antiviral Ribonucleosides, PLoS Pathogens. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003030.
  • Synthesis of fluorinated benzophenones, xanthones, acridones, and thioxanthones by iterative nucleophilic aromatic substitution, Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jo202062f.
  • Synthetic cell surface receptors for delivery of therapeutics and probes, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2012.02.007.
  • Targeting of histone acetyltransferase p300 by cyclopentenone prostaglandin Δ 12-PGJ 2 through covalent binding to Cys 1438, Chemical Research in Toxicology. 2012 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/tx200383c.
  • Development of a cell-based, high-throughput screening assay for cholesterol efflux using a fluorescent mimic of cholesterol, Assay and Drug Development Technologies. 2011 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1089/adt.2010.0288.
  • Human neutrophil peptides mediate endothelial-monocyte interaction, foam cell formation, and platelet activation, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 2011 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.111.227116.
  • Structural requirements for the inhibition of calcium mobilization and mast cell activation by the pyrazole derivative BTP2, International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 2011 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2011.04.016.
  • Synthesis and biological evaluation of analogues of AKT (protein kinase B) inhibitor-IV, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2011 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jm100912b.
  • Chemico-genetic identification of drebrin as a regulator of calcium responses, International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology. 2010 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2009.11.019.
  • Synthesis of a 6-methyl-7-deaza analogue of adenosine that potently inhibits replication of polio and dengue viruses, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2010 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jm100593s.
  • Practical synthesis of 3β-amino-5-cholestene and related 3β-halides involving i-steroid and retro-i-steroid rearrangements, Organic Letters. 2009 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol802343z.
  • Antibacterial and hemolytic activities of pyridinium polymers as a function of the spatial relationship between the positive charge and the pendant alkyl tail, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/anie.200702287.
  • Lethal mutagenesis of picornaviruses with N-6-modified purine nucleoside analogues, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01056-07.
  • Multifunctional silane polymers for persistent surface derivatization and their antimicrobial properties, Langmuir. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/la800858z.
  • One-pot synthesis of nucleoside 5 -triphosphates from nucleoside 5 -H-phosphonates, Organic Letters. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol8003029.
  • Selective disruption of early/recycling endosomes: Release of disulfide-linked cargo mediated by a N-alkyl-3β-cholesterylamine-capped peptide, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja803380a.
  • Structural insights into mechanisms of catalysis and inhibition in Norwalk virus polymerase, Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2008 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709563200.
  • A concise synthesis of the pennsylvania green fluorophore and labeling of intracellular targets with O 6-benzylguanine derivatives, Organic Letters. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol7015093.
  • Endocytic delivery of vancomycin mediated by a synthetic cell surface receptor: Rescue of bacterially infected mammalian cells and tissue targeting in vivo, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja067674f.
  • Lethal mutagenesis of poliovirus mediated by a mutagenic pyrimidine analogue, Journal of Virology. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01028-07.
  • Model systems. Mimics and probes of biological systems, Current Opinion in Chemical Biology. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2007.10.010.
  • Synthesis of a universal 5-nitroindole ribonucleotide and incorporation into RNA by a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, ChemBioChem. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200700160.
  • The oxidative stress mediator 4-hydroxynonenal is an intracellular agonist of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ), Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2007 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2007.01.003.
  • A synthetic mimic of human Fc receptors: Defined chemical modification of cell surfaces enables efficient endocytic uptake of human immunoglobulin-G, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja062377w.
  • Silver bromide nanoparticle/polymer composites: Dual action tunable antimicrobial materials, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja061442z.
  • Small-molecule triggers of tadpole metamorphosis., ACS chemical biology. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/cb600398a.
  • Synthesis and antiviral activity of 5-substituted cytidine analogues: Identification of a potent inhibitor of viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jm060872x.
  • Synthesis of an artificial cell surface receptor that enables oligohistidine affinity tags to function as metal-dependent cell-penetrating peptides, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja056126j.
  • The Pennsylvania Green fluorophore: A hybrid of Oregon Green and Tokyo Green for the construction of hydrophobic and pH-insensitive molecular probes, Organic Letters. 2006 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol052655g.
  • Calcium flux in neuroblastoma cells is a coupling mechanism between non-genomic and genomic modes of estrogens, Neuroendocrinology. 2005 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1159/000087000.
  • Fluorescence-based cloning of a protein tyrosine kinase with a yeast tribrid system, ChemBioChem. 2005 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200500047.
  • Synthetic mimics of mammalian cell surface receptors: Prosthetic molecules that augment living cells, Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry. 2005 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1039/b509866a.
  • 11β-alkyl-Δ9-19-nortestosterone derivatives: High-affinity ligands and potent partial agonists of the androgen receptor, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 2004 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/jm0342515.
  • An amphotericin B-fluorescein conjugate as a powerful probe for biochemical studies of the membrane, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition. 2004 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/anie.200460489.
  • Facile synthesis of CIDs: Biotinylated estrone oximes efficiently heterodimerize estrogen receptor and streptavidin proteins in yeast three hybrid systems, Organic Letters. 2004 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol0497537.
  • Molecule-Specific Imaging with Mass Spectrometry and a Buckminsterfullerene Probe: Application to Characterizing Solid-Phase Synthesized Combinatorial Libraries, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2004 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja036549q.
  • Synthetic mimics of small mammalian cell surface receptors, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2004 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja046663o.
  • Analysis of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors in recombinant yeast lacking the ERG6 gene, ChemBioChem. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200390001.
  • Control of Gene Expression with Small Molecules: Biotin-Mediated Acylation of Targeted Lysine Residues in Recombinant Yeast, Chemistry and Biology. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2003.11.007.
  • Fluorescent cellular sensors of steroid receptor ligands, ChemBioChem. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200300606.
  • Non-natural cell surface receptors: Synthetic peptides capped with N-cholesterylglycine efficiently deliver proteins into mammalian cells, Bioconjugate Chemistry. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/bc025601p.
  • Synthesis of a high-affinity Fluorescent PPARγ ligand for high-throughput fluorescence polarization assays, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/S0968-0896(03)00494-2.
  • Synthesis of a β-estradiol-biotin chimera that potently heterodimerizes estrogen receptor and streptavidin proteins in a yeast three-hybrid system, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2003 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja0293305.
  • A colorimetric enzyme-linked on-bead assay for identification of synthetic substrates of protein tyrosine kinases, Journal of Peptide Science. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/psc.376.
  • A fluorescence-based high performance liquid chromatographic method for the characterization of palmitoyl acyl transferase activity, Analytical Biochemistry. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/S0003-2697(02)00212-9.
  • Augmenting vitamin D to combat genetic disease, Chemistry and Biology. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/S1074-5521(02)00287-9.
  • Conformational solution studies of neuropeptide γ using CD and NMR spectroscopy, Journal of Peptide Science. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/psc.384.
  • Efficient delivery of streptavidin to mammalian cells: Clathrin-mediated endocytosis regulated by a synthetic ligand, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja0258733.
  • Rapid detection of protein tyrosine kinase activity in recombinant yeast expressing a universal substrate, Journal of Proteome Research. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/pr0255093.
  • Sensitive and rapid analysis of protein palmitoylation with a synthetic cell-permeable mimic of Src oncoproteins, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja017671x.
  • Synthesis and antiviral evaluation of a mutagenic and non-hydrogen bonding ribonucleoside analogue: 1-β-D-ribofuranosyl-3-nitropyrrole, Biochemistry. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/bi026120w.
  • Synthesis of chimeric 7α-substituted estradiol derivatives linked to cholesterol and cholesterylamine, Organic Letters. 2002 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ol0171261.
  • A synthetic membrane-anchored antigen efficiently promotes uptake of antifluorescein antibodies and associated protein A by mammalian cells, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2001 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja017087o.
  • Macrotricyclic Steroid Receptors by Pd°-Catalyzed Cross-Coupling Reactions: Dissolution of Cholesterol in Aqueous Solution and Investigations of the Principles Governing Selective Molecular Recognition of Steroidal Substrates, Helvetica Chimica Acta. 1998 Jan | journal-article. .
  • The orientation of the AP-1 heterodimer on DNA strongly affects transcriptional potency, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1998 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.24.14076.
  • Dual role of the nuclear factor of activated T cells insert region in DNA recognition and cooperative contacts to activator protein, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1997 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1073/pnas.94.10.4919.
  • A critical arginine residue mediates cooperativity in the contact interface between transcription factors NFAT and AP-1, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 1996 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1073/pnas.93.24.13671.
  • Cavity depth and width effects on cyclophane-steroid recognition: molecular complexation of cholesterol and progesterone in aqueous solution, Chemistry and Biology. 1995 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/1074-5521(95)90068-3.
  • Steroid complexation by cyclophane receptors in aqueous solution: Substrate selectivity, enthalpic driving force for cavity inclusion, and enthalpy-entropy compensation, Tetrahedron. 1995 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1016/0040-4020(94)00905-A.
  • Bilirubin Conformational Analysis and Circular Dichroism, Journal of the American Chemical Society. 1994 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1021/ja00080a006.
  • Dissolution of Cholesterol in Water by a Synthetic Receptor, Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English. 1994 Jan | journal-article. doi: 10.1002/anie.199416251.
  • Conformational analysis and circular dichroism of bilirubin, the yellow pigment of jaundice, Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. 1991 Jan | conference-paper. .