Skip to main content

Albert Bowers Lab

Now Accepting Doctoral Candidates

Biotechnology for Drug Discovery

Research in the Bowers Lab is concentrated on the synthesis, assessment, and modification of potential therapeutic leads, especially those derived from natural products. We use chemical synthesis as well as genetic manipulation of the natural biosyntheses to access and modify compounds to study structure-activity relationships (SAR). These efforts involves the integration of basic concepts in organic reaction mechanisms, synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and computational chemistry.


Key words: Natural products medicinal chemistry, combinatorial synthesis and biosynthesis, structure-based drug design and mode of action.

Research in our lab is concentrated on the synthesis, assessment, and modification of potential therapeutic leads, especially those derived from natural products.  We use chemical synthesis as well as genetic manipulation of the natural biosyntheses to access and modify compounds to study structure-activity relationships (SAR).  These efforts involves the integration of basic concepts in organic reaction mechanisms, synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and computational chemistry.

Combinatorial biosynthesis

A major focus of the lab is using genetic information about natural product biosynthesis to manipulate pathways, create new compounds, and rationally modify or improve their pharmacology. This has the benefit of efficiently accessing complex natural-product-like structures without the need for step-wise synthesis chemical synthesis. In particular, we are engineering several exceptionally promiscuous enzymatic pathways to make modified versions of their endogenous products with new biological activities. We have had success in targeting libraries of these engineered compounds against a number of challenging but important cancer targets. A mechanistic understanding of these pathways is also allowing us to expand on the endogenous structures by incorporating unnatural functional groups, capable of reacting in parallel. Additionally, we are exploring the ability to express the engineered pathways in presence of potential targets in order to ‘evolve’ new natural-product-like inhibitors.

Recycling Natural Products

Our laboratory also actively pursues SAR of several natural products by means of chemical synthesis. A number of natural products have been ignored clinically (as well as industrially) due to fundamental shortcomings, such as poor solubility or excessive cytotoxicity. Research in the lab is aimed at removing these impediments to clinical relevance by developing efficient syntheses of proposed active fragments and investigations of the minimal basis for their activity. Compounds currently being worked on in the lab target multidrug resistant venereal infection (gonorrhea and chlamydia) and aberrant gene regulation involved in cancer progression.

ReCycle – a Blog

Blogging about peptides, macrocycles, natural products, and drug discovery, especially drug discovery with macrocyclic peptide natural products.  Posts by students, postdocs, and PIs in the Bowers Lab.

The Emperor’s New Probes

Ubiquitin (Ub) is ubiquitous.  This small, 76-residue protein is used to mark cellular proteins for degradation by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS).  Two key enzyme families, Ub ligases and deubiquitylation enzymes (DUBs), are responsible for putting on and taking off … Continued

A Deeper Dive into a Peptide POOL

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are making a large impact on drug discovery and development.  It’s hard to open a copy of C&E News without reading about the latest AI-guided synthetic routes or “smart” models of drug metabolism and … Continued

Grip it & RiPP it

Azol(in)es, are important and common motifs in natural products and therapeutics. They are especially abundant in ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide natural products (RiPPs) like cyanobactins and thiopeptides and even define an entire subclass of RiPPs dubbed “linear azole-containing … Continued

AMPs Making Noise as Antimalarials

This week, the lab has been reading about peptide therapeutics for malaria. Malaria is yet another infectious disease seeing a sharp rise in multi-drug resistant cases in recent years. Artemisinin and artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs) are the “go-to” treatment options … Continued

RaPID Redesigned

We’ve previously touched on DELs and some of what they’re doing to revolutionize drug discovery.  mRNA display is a somewhat similar technique that is increasingly being used to discover new high affinity peptide-based ligands for challenging therapeutic targets.  mRNA display … Continued

Re-Arming Arylomycins

Recently we delved into the literature on new and improved arylomycin antibiotics, in particular, this recent report in Nature by researchers at Genentech. Arylomycins are a class of macrocyclic peptides known to inhibit the bacterial type I signal peptidase pathway … Continued

Escaping the Endosome

Our lab loves peptides and drug discovery has recently been flooded with an interest in them. Peptides can be easy and cost efficient to make and there is an increasing number of techniques for identifying peptides that have a high … Continued

A DEL of a Good Paper

DNA-encoded libraries (DELs) have been making a big splash in drug discovery recently. Although the original idea dates back to 1992, DELs seem now to be surpassing traditional high-throughput screening approaches in terms of cost, scale, and speed and promise … Continued

The Lure of Fungal RiPPs

Fungi have always been an important source of biologically active natural products.  The modern age of antibiotics was ushered in by the discovery of penicillin, isolated from molds of Penicillium.  Since then, many blockbuster drugs have been fully or partially … Continued

Thinking About Piperazic Acid-Containing Natural Products

We’ve been reading the recent work of the Del Valle lab at USF and reflecting on the intriguing chemistry of what they call N-amino peptides (NAPs).  The unique structural and electronic features of NAPs make them potentially useful as peptidomimetics … Continued


Albert Bowers,

Principal Investigator

B.A. Art History, Univ. of Chicago
Ph.D. Chemistry, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
Postdoc, Chemical Biology, Harvard Medical School

Nicholas Kramer, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Synthetic Chemistry

B.S. Ramapo College of NJ
Ph.D. Chemistry, Florida State University (PI: Gregory Dudley)


053116 Picture

Kelly Bird (c/o 2015)

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Biochemistry, Washington College


Steven Fleming (c/o 2015)

Graduate Student, BBSP

B.S. Biochemistry, Pepperdine University


Tory Haberman (c/o 2017)

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemistry, Clemson University

Matt Fleming (c/o 2017)

Graduate Student, BBSP

B.S. Biochemistry, Pepperdine University


Matt Bowler (c/o 2018)

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemistry, Salisbury University

Bree Iskandar (c/o 2018)

Graduate Student, BBSP

B.S. Chemistry, Emory University

Former Members

Nicoletta Economou, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Structural Biology

B.S. Agricultural University of Athens
Ph.D. Drexel University College of Medicine

Current: Clinical Analytics Manager (BeiGene, Durham, NC)


Walter Wever Solis, Ph.D.wever-e1435588820625-150x150

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemistry, Texas Tech. Univ.
M.S. Chemistry, Texas Tech. Univ.

Current: Scientist (Ferring Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, CA)


allen_scott-e1435587002160Scott Edward Allen, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Computational Chemistry

B.S. Chemistry, Pennsylvania State Univ.
Ph.D. Chemistry, Univ. of Pennsylvania (PI: Marisa Kozlowski)

 Current: Patent Agent (Riverside Law, LLP, Wayne, PA)

Rachel Bleich, Ph.D.bleich-e1435586776939-150x150

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemistry, Western Carolina Univ.

Current: Postdoc and SPIRE Fellow (UNC Chapel Hill, PI: Janelle Arthur)


Paul Himes, Ph.D.himes-e1435586661841

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemical Engineering, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology

Current: Contract Scientist (Agios Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge, MA)



Swapnil Ghodge, Ph.D.

Postdoc, Enzymology

B.Tech. Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India.
Ph.D. Chemistry, Texas A&M Univ. (PI: Frank Raushel)

Current: Senior Scientist (Genentech, San Francisco, CA)


doorcounty%206-2011%20003-1Jon Bogart, Ph.D.

Graduate Student, CBMC

B.S. Chemistry, Univ. Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Current: Postdoc (Northwestern University, PI: Michael C. Jewett)








21. J. W. Bogart, A. A. Bowers, Thiopeptide Pyridine Synthase TbtD Catalyzes an Intermolecular Formal Aza-Diels-Alder ReactionJ. Am. Chem. Soc., just accepted, 2019.

20. S. R. Fleming, T. E. Bartges, A. A. Vinogradov, C. L. Kirkpatrick, Y. Goto, H. Suga, L. M. Hicks, A. A. Bowers, Flexizyme-Enabled Benchtop Biosynthesis of ThiopeptidesJ. Am. Chem. Soc., 141 (2), 758-762, 2019.

19. A. A. Bowers, The substrate lends a handNat. Chem. Bio.14 (10), 907–908, 2018.

18. K. J. Grubbs, R. M. Bleich, K. C. Santa Maria, S. E. Allen, S. Farag, E. A. Shank, A. A. Bowers, Large-Scale Bioinformatics Analysis of Bacillus Genomes Uncovers Conserved Roles of Natural Products in Bacterial PhysiologymSystems2(6), e00040–17, 2017.

17. A. A. Bowers, Methylating mushroomsNat. Chem. Bio.13 (8), 821-2, 2017.

16.  T. L. Grove, P. M. Himes, S. Hwang, J. Bonnani, H. Yumerefendi, B. Kuhlman, S. Almo, A. A, Bowers, Structural Insights into Thioether Bond Formation of a Sactionine SynthaseJ. Am. Chem. Soc., 139 (34), 11734-44, 2017.

15.  J.G. Gober, S.V. Ghodge, J. W. Bogart, W. J. Wever, R. R. Watkins, E. M. Brustad, A. A. Bowers, P450-Mediated Non-natural Cyclopropanation of Dehydroalanine-containing ThiopeptidesACS Chem. Biol. 12, 1726-31, 2017.

14.  L. Lauinger, J. Li, A. Shostak, I. A. Cemel, N. Ha, Y. Zhang, P. E. Merkl, S. Obermeyer, N. Stankovic-Valentin, T. Schafmeier, W. J. Wever, A. A. Bowers, K. P. Carter, A. E. Palmer, H. Tschochner, F. Melchior, R. J. Deshaies, M. Brunner, A. Diernfellner, Thiolutin is a zinc chelator that inhibits the Rpn11 and other JAMM metalloproteasesNat. Chem. Biol. 13, 709-14, 2017.

13.  X. Wang, A. Arceci, K. Bird, C. A. Mills, R. Choudhury, J. L. Kernan, C. Zhou, V. Bae-Jump, A. A. Bowers, and M. Emanuele, VprBP/DCAF1 regulates the degradation and non-proteolytic activation of the cell cycle transcription factor FoxM1Mol. Cell Biol., 37, 1-15, 2017

12.  W. J. Wever, J. W. Bogart, and A. A. Bowers, Identification of Pyridine Synthase Recognition Sequences Allows Modular Solid-Phase Route to Thiopeptide Variants, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 138 (41), 13461–13464, 2016.

11.   S. V. Ghodge, K. A. Biernat, S. J. Bassett, M. R. Redinbo, and A. A. Bowers, Post-translational Claisen Condensation and Decarboxylation en Route to the Bicyclic Core of Pantocin AJ. Am. Chem. Soc., 138 (17), 5487–5490, 2016.

10.   P.M. Himes, S. E. Allen, S. Hwang, and A. A. Bowers, Production of Sactipeptides in Escherichia coli: Probing the Substrate Promiscuity of Subtilosin A BiosynthesisACS Chem. Biol., 11(6), 1737-1744, 2016.

9.   S. E. Allen, N. V. Dokholyan, A. A. Bowers, Dynamic Docking of Conformationally Constrained Macrocycles: Methods and ApplicationsACS Chem. Biol., 11(1), 10-24, 2015.

8.   W. J. Wever, J. W. Bogart, J. A. Bacile, A. N. Chan, F. C. Schroeder, and A. A. Bowers, Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Thiazolyl Peptide Natural Products Featuring an Enzyme-Catalyzed Formal [4+2] CycloadditionJ. Am. Chem. Soc., 137(10), 3494-7, 2015.

7.   Z. D. Dunn, W. J. Wever, N. J. Economou, A. A. Bowers, and B. Li, Enzymatic Basis of ‘Hybridity’ in Thiomarinol BiosynthesisAngew. Chem. Int. Ed., 54(17), 5137-41, 2015.

6.   R. M. Bleich, J. D. Watrous, P. C. Dorrestein, A. A. Bowers, E. A. Shank, Thiopeptide antibiotics stimulate biofilm formation in Bacillus subtilisProc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA,  112, 3086-91, 2015.

5.   M. J. Powers, E. Sanabria-Valentin, A. A. Bowers, E. A. Shank, Inhibition of Cell Differentiation in Bacillus Subtilis by Pseudomonas protegensJ. Bacteriol., 197(13), 2129, 2015.

4.  X. Du, D. Wojtowicz, A. A. Bowers, D. Levens, C. Benham, and T. M. Przytycka, Genome-wide distribution of non-B DNA motifs is shaped by operon structure and suggests transcriptional importance of non-B DNA structures in Escherichia coliNuc. Acid. Res., 41(12), 5965, 2013.

3.  W. Wever, M. A. Cinelli, A. A. Bowers, Visible Light Mediated Activation and O-Glycosylation of ThioglycosidesOrg. Lett.,15(1), 30-33, 2013.

2.  Arnison, P. et al., Ribosomally Synthesized and Post-Translationally Modified Peptide Natural Products: Overview and Recommendations for a Universal NomenclatureNat. Prod. Rep., 30, 108-160, 2013.

1.  A. A. Bowers, Preparation of natural product-like cyclic peptide librariesMedChemComm, 3, 905-915, 2012.


Publications Prior to UNC

20.   B. Li, W. Wever, C. T. Walsh, and A. A. Bowers, Dithiolopyrrolones: Biosynthesis, Synthesis, and Activity of a Unique Class of Disulfide-Containing Natural ProductsNat. Prod. Rep., 31, 905, 2014.

19.  B. Li, R. R. Forseth, A. A. Bowers, F. C. Schroeder, C. T. Walsh, A Backup Plan for Self-protection: S-Methylation of Holomycin Biosynthetic Intermediates in Streptomyces clavuligerusChemBioChem, 13(17) 2521-2526, 2012.

18.  A. A. Bowers, M. G. Acker, T. S. Young, and C. T. Walsh, Generation of Thiocillin Ring Size Variants by Prepeptide Gene Replacement and In Vivo Processing by Bacillus cereus, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134(25) 10313-10316, 2012.

17.  A. A. Bowers, C. T. Walsh, and M. G. Acker, Genetic Interception and Structural Characterization of Thiopeptide Cyclization Precursors from Bacillus cereus, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 132(35) 12182-12184, 2010.

16. C. T. Walsh, M. G. Acker, A. A. Bowers, Thiazolyl peptide antibiotic biosynthesis:  a cascade of posttranslational modifications on ribosomal nascent proteins, J. Bio. Chem.285, 27525-27531, 2010.

15. T. L. Newkirk, A. A. Bowers, R. M. Williams, Discovery, biological activity, synthesis and potential therapeutic utility of naturally occurring histone deacetylase inhibitors, Nat. Prod. Rep., 26(10), 1293-1320, 2009.

14.  A. A. Bowers, M. G. Acker, and C. T. Walsh, In vivo Manipulation of Thiocillin: Structure, Conformation, and Activity of Heterocycle Substitution Mutants, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 132(21) 7319-7327, 2010.

13.  M. G. Acker, A. A. Bowers, and C. T. Walsh, Generation of Thiocillin Variants by Prepeptide Gene Replacement and In Vivo Processing by B. cereus, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131(48) 17563-17565, 2009.

12.  A. A. Bowers, N. West, T. Newkirk, A. Troutman-Youngman, S. L. Schreiber, O. Wiest, J. E. Bradner, and R. M. Williams, Synthesis and HDAC Inhibitory Activity of Largazole Analogs: Alteration of the Zinc-Binding Domain and Macrocyclic Scaffold. Org. Lett., 11(6) 1301-1304, 2009.

11.  A. A. Bowers, T. J. Greshock, N. West, G. Estiu, S. L. Schreiber, O. Wiest, R. M. Williams, J. E. Bradner, Synthesis and Conformation-Activity Relationships of the Peptide Isosteres of FK228 and Largazole. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 131(8) 2900-2905, 2009.

10.  A. A. Bowers, N. West, J. Taunton, S. L. Schreiber, J. E. Bradner, and R. M. Williams, The Total Synthesis and Biological Mode of Action of Largazole: A Potent Class I Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) Inhibitor. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 130(33) 11219-11222, 2008.

9.  D. Crich, K. Sasaki, M. Sardar, and A. A. Bowers, One-Pot Syntheses of Dissymmetric Diamides Based on the Chemistry of Cyclic Monothioanhydrides.  Scope, Limitations, and Application to the Synthesis of Glycopeptides, J. Org. Chem., 74(10) 3886-3893, 2009.

8.  D. Crich, A. A. Bowers, “Sulfoxides, Sulfimides, and Sulfones” in Handbook of Chemical Glycosylation, ed. A. Demchenko, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, Germany, 2008, 303-328.

7.  D. Crich and A. A. Bowers, Cyclic Thioanhydrides: Linchpins for Multicomponent Coupling Reactions Based on the Reaction of Thioacids with Electron-Deficient Sulfonamides and Azides, Org. Lett., 9(25) 5323-5325, 2007.

6.  D. Crich, D. Grant, and A. A. Bowers, Heterobivalent Library Expansion by “Living Radical” Processes.  Thiocarbonyl Addition Elimination, and Nitroxide-Based Reactions with Fluorous Deconvolution, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 129(40) 12106-12107, 2007.

5.  T. Nokami, A. Shibuya, H. Tsuyama, A. A. Bowers, D. Crich, S. Suga, and J-I. Yoshida, Electrochemical Generation of Glycosyl Triflates. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129(35) 10922-10928, 2007.

4.  D. Crich, C. M. Pedersen, A. A. Bowers, and D. J. Wink, Does Conformational Restriction Influence Stereoselectivity in the Formation of Arabinofuranosides?  The 3,5-Di-O-benzylidene and 3,5-Di-O(di-tert-butylsilylene)-2-O-benzylarabinofuranosides as Glycosyl Donors, J. Org. Chem., 72(5) 1553-1565, 2007.

3.  D. Crich and A. A. Bowers, Total Synthesis of a β-(1→3)-D-Rhamnotetraose by a One-Pot, Multiple Radical Fragmentation, Org. Lett., 8(19) 4327-4330, 2006.

2.  D. Crich and A. A Bowers, 4,6-O-[1-Cyano-2-(2-iodophenyl)ethylidene] Acetals.  Improved Second Generation Acetals for the Stereoselective Formation of β-D-Mannopyranosides and Regioselective Reductive Radical Fragmentation to β-D-Rhamnopyranosides.  Scope and Limitations. J. Org. Chem. 71(9) 3452-3463, 2006.

1.  D. Crich, Q. Yao, A. A. Bowers, On the regioselectivity of the Hanessian-Hullar reaction in 4,6-O-benzylidene protected galactopyranosides. Carbohydrate Res., 341(10) 1748-1752, 2006.



2. R. M. Williams, J. E. Bradner, A. A. Bowers, T. L. Newkirk, A. E. Troutman-Youngman Method for Preparing Largazole Analogs and Uses Thereof, PCT Int. Appl., 2010, WO 2010009334.

1. D. Crich, A. A. Bowers, Multicomponent coupling and glycopeptides synthesis with cyclic thioanhydrides, US. Pat. Appl. Publ., 2009, US 20090163697.

Bowers Lab News

July 2018

  • The Bowers Lab celebrates six years of cutting edge science and training with the labs first retreat, involving research talks, new ideas, and team building at the UNC Outdoor Education Center and Ropes Course.
  • We say goodbye and good luck to Dr. Swapnil Ghodge, who is headed to San Francisco, CA, to start his position as Senior Scientist at Genentech.


April 2018

  • Warm welcomes to Tory Haberman (CBMC) and Matt Fleming (BBSP), two new graduate students who have just joined the lab.
  • Alex Yankalunas is awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for research in the lab this summer.
  • The lab has been awarded a second NIH grant!  Our work on the antibiotic activity of thiopeptides in collaboration with Miriam Braunstein in UNC Microbiology was recently awarded an NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant (NIH R21) for $250,000 over 2 years.

February 2018

  • The lab welcomes postdoc Nick Kramer from Gregory Dudley’s lab at Florida State University.

September 2017

August 2017

  • Pauls paper on the structure and mechanism of peptide modifying radical-SAM enzyme was published in J. Am. Chem. Soc.  DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b01283.
  • Congratulations to Rachel Bleich for successfully defending her Ph.D. thesis!  Rachel has won a competitive SPIRE Fellowship and will be continuing on at UNC as a postdoctoral fellow in Janelle Arthur’s lab in the Department of Microbiology.

July 2017

  • Our collaborative grant on “Developing Therapeutic Peptides Against Chemoresistant Cancer” with Cyrus Vaziri and Ken Pearce has been funded by NCTraCS.
  • Jon Bogart wins a competitive GSK Fellowship for his research on thiopeptide antibiotics.  Read the story here:
  • A bit of de ja vu: congratulations to Paul Himes for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis!  We wish him best of luck as he moves on to a postdoc with Professor Seth Rakoff-Nahoum at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital.

June 2017

May 2017

  • Our collaborative paper with Eric Brustad’s lab was published in ACS Chem. Bio. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.7b00358.
  • Congratulations to lab alum Sarah Jane Basset for being awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  Sarah Jane will be starting grad school in chemistry at MIT this Fall.

April 2017

  • Congratulations to Steven Fleming, who won an NSF/JSPS EAPSI Fellowship and will be traveling to Tokyo, Japan this summer to work in the lab of Prof. Hiroaki Suga on mRNA display.
  • Braxton is awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for research in the lab this summer.
  • Jon is awarded the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for his research on new thiopeptide antibiotics.
  • Rachel wins a 2017 Horizon Award from the UNC Graduate School for her research into antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Story here:

March 2017

  • Albert gives an invited talk about our research at the 2nd U.S.-Japan Seminar on Biosynthesis of Natural Products for Young Researchers in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Albert gives an invited talk about our research at Directing Biosynthesis V in Warwick, UK.

August 2016

  • Walter and Jon’s new paper on solid-phase peptide synthesis of thiopeptides is accepted for publication in J. Am. Chem. Soc.  DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b05389
  • Albert is honored to receive the 2016 Young Investigator Award from the Boulder Peptide Society.

June 2016

  • Congratulations to Walter Wever for successfully defending his Ph.D. thesis!  We wish him best of luck as he moves on to a postdoc with Professor Eliot Chaikof at Harvard Medical School.

April 2016

  • Warm welcomes to Kelly Bird (CBMC) and Steven Fleming (BBSP), two new graduate students who have just joined the lab.
  • Swapnil’s paper on Pantocin A biosynthesis is accepted for publication in J. Am. Chem. Soc.  DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b13529
  • Sung is awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for research in the lab this summer.
  • Jon is awarded an American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

March 2016

  • Paul’s paper on engineered biosynthesis of sactipeptides is accepted to ACS Chemical Biology.  DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00042

November 2015

  • Scott’s review on computational methods for handling macrocycles is published in ACS Chemical Biology. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.5b00663

October 2015

  • Congratulations to Scott and his wife on the birth of their son, Greyson Stanley Allen!

August 2015

  • Albert presents our research on engineering new natural products at the 2015 Beckman Foundation Sympossium in Irvine, CA.

July 2015

  • Albert presents our research on chemoenzymatic synthesis of thiazolyl peptides at the Enzymes, Co-Enzymes, and Metabolic Pathways Gordon Research Conference in Waterville Valley, NH.

April 2015

  • Jon Bogart officially joins the lab as a new graduate student.
  • Dr. Swapnil Ghodge joins the lab as a postdoc after completing his Ph.D. with Frank Raushel’s lab at Texas A & M University.
  • Rachel is awarded an American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education (AFPE) Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

March 2015

  • Scott’s grant application for computer resources from XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment) is funded.  Scott’s research will focus on Logical Design of Macrocyclic Antibiotics Using Molecular Dynamics and Docking Simulations.
  • Walter and Jon’s paper on characterization of a new class of biosynthetic enzyme is accepted for publication in J. Am. Chem. Soc. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b00940

January 2015

  • Walter and Nicoleta’s paper in collaboration with the Li lab at UNC is accepted for publication in Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201411667
  • Rachel’s paper on our work in collaboration with the Shank lab at UNC is accepted for publication in Proc. Natl. Acad. USA. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1414272112

September 2014

  • Rachel travels to Dubrovnik, Croatia to attend the John Innes/Rudjer Bošković Summer School on “Microbial Specialized Metabolites: Origins and Applications”.

August 2014

July 2014

  • Albert presents our research on genome mining at the 2014 Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO.
  • Bowers lab moves to new space in Marsico Hall near the UNC School of Medicine.

May 2014

  • Postdoc Scott Allen wins the poster prize for his research at the UNC Research Computing Symposium
  • Walter’s review on dithiolopyrrolone synthesis, biosynthesis, and biological activity is published in Natural Product Reports. DOI: 10.1039/C3NP70106A

June 2013

  • Albert presents our research on combinatorial biosynthesis in an invited talk at the 2013 Gordon Research Conference on High-Throughput Chemistry and Chemical Biology.

May 2013

  • CBMC Graduate students Paul Himes and Rachel Bleich join the lab.

February 2013

  • Postdoc Scott Allen joins the lab from University of Pennsylvania.

December 2012

  • Walter’s paper on light-activated thioglycosides is published in Organic Letters. DOI: 10.1021/ol302941q
  • Postdoc Nicoletta Economou joins the lab from Drexel School of Medicine.

August 2012

  • Bowers Lab opens in 1310 Venable Hall at UNC Chapel Hill



Journals of Interest


Useful Scientific Resources

Bioinformatic Tools

  • RCSB PDB:  the Protein Data Bank
  • ExPASy:  the SIB (Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics) Resource Portal
  • ExPASy Translate:  a tool for translating nucleotide sequence into protein sequence.
  • ProtParam:  a tool that allows computation of physicochemical properties for proteins.
  • NCBI – PubMed:  reference search tool maintained by National Center for Biotechnology Information
  • NCBI – BLAST:  the NCBI Basic Local Alignment Search Tool.
  • JGI/IMG:  genome browsing and annotation platform maintained by U.S. Dept. of Energy.
  • BRENDA:  comprehensive enzyme information system

Homology Modelling

  • CODEHOP:  tool for designing degenerate primers.
  • HHPred:  homology detection and structure prediction tool from Max-Planck Institute.
  • PhyRe:  automatic fold recognition server for predicting structure/function from protein sequence.

Natural Product Prediction

  • antiSMASH:  open source program for antibiotic & secondary metabolite prediction from genes
  • multiGENEblast:  open source tool for identification of homologs of multigene modules
  • NaPDoS:  tool for detection and analysis of C- and KS-domains from DNA or amino acid sequence
  • PKS/NRPS Analysis:  domain analysis and prediction for PKSs and NRPSs
  • Norine:  database of non-ribosomal peptides and tools for analysis

Operon Predictors

  • ProOpDB:  Prokaryotic Operon DataBase, a repository of prokaryotic operon predictions
  • DOOR:  database of prokaryotic operons
  • PPO:  predictor for prokaryotic operons
  • DBTBS:  a database of transcriptional regulation in Bacillus subtilis
  • BPROM: bacterial promoter prediction program


The Bowers Lab values safety.  Below are several important and useful links to videos and resources that describe best practices for common laboratory procedures.
Lab Safety Links


Interested in joining our team?

Have the following application materials prepared: one page cover letter explaining career goals and specific interests, including your intended length of stay; unofficial transcript (applicants with one or both semesters of organic chemistry and biology lab are preferred, but exceptions are made for strong applicants who are earlier in their undergraduate careers); updated copy of curriculum vitae (CV).


Prospective graduate students:
Follow the procedures listed on the School of Pharmacy of School or Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program website. Contact Prof. Bowers by email prior to recruiting and/or orientation to schedule a meeting.


Prospective postdoctoral fellows:
Have the following application materials prepared: one page cover letter explaining career goals and specific interests, including your intended length of stay; an updated copy of curriculum vitae including a full list of peer-reviewed publications. Include in press manuscripts but NOT submitted or in preparation manuscripts. Include two electronic reprints of your most relevant, first-author, peer-reviewed publications. Do not include review articles. Arrange for three confidential letters of recommendation to be sent directly to Professor Bowers. Application materials may be sent electronically via email. All postdocs are required to apply for external funding.