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Ryan E. Looper

ORGANIC & BIOORGANIC CHEMISTRY                                       Huntsman Cancer Institute

Professor and Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair

B.S. Western Washington University, 1998
M.Sc. Western Washington University, 1999
Ph.D. Colorado State University, 2004
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard University, 2004-2007

Phone: (801) 585-0408
Office: 3122 HEB
Research Group
Biological Chemistry Program

Activities & Awards

  • Entrepreneurial Faculty Scholar, University of Utah, 2014
  • Eli Lilly Young Investigator Award, 2013
  • Amgen Young Investigator Award, 2012
  • Thieme Chemistry Journal Award, 2012
  • Henry Eyring Assistant Professor of Chemistry, 2009
  • NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2005
  • Array Biopharma Research Fellowship, 2003
  • Western Assoc. of Graduate Schools/UMI Distinguished Thesis Award, 2001

Research Interests

Our research program focuses on the behavior of small molecules within biological systems. With clues from nature, we aim to develop compounds as specific modulators of cell signaling events and as tools for a community.

Initially, our synthetic achievements will support the exploration of post-translational protein-arginine modifications and its consequences. The recent implication of these events in a number of disease states (multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, glaucoma and tumorogenesis) encourages the preparation of biological tools and therapeutic leads.

Insight into the mechanism of action of natural products will inspire the development of new synthetic methodology and fragment based small molecule collections. In part, these advances will access natural product families which exhibit a wide range of biological activities. The efficient construction of these skeletons will allow us to investigate the evolutionary conservation of their biosynthesis by their contribution to the national screening infrastructure.

We are also developing antibiotic collections for the inhibition of prokaryotic protein synthesis. Molecules with purported rRNA binding interactions that are uncharacterized or non-overlapping with known sites of resistance will be targeted to advance our understanding of RNA’s binding topology.

Selected Publications

  • Srinivas R. Paladugu, Chintelle K. James and Ryan E. Looper “A direct C11 alkylation strategy on the saxitoxin core; a synthesis of (+)-11-Saxitoxinethanoic acid” submitted,  2019
  • Catherine M. Serrano, Hariprasada R. Kanna Reddy, Daniel R. Eiler, Michael R. Koch, Louis R. Barrows, Ryan T. Vanderlinden, Charles A. Testa, Paul R. Sebahar and Ryan E. Looper* “Unifying aminohexopyranose nucleoside antibiotics; implications for antibiotic design” submitted,  2019
  • Dustin L. Williams, Scott R. Smith, R. Tyler Epperson, Brittany R. Peterson and Ryan E. Looper “Growth Substrate May Influence Biofilm Susceptibility to Antibiotics” PLOS One,  2019, in press.
  • Williams, Dustin L.; Epperson, Richard T.; Ashton, Nicholas N.; Taylor, Nicholas B.; Kawaguchi, Brooke; Olsen, Raymond E.; Haussener, Travis J.; Sebahar, Paul R.; Allyn, Gina; Looper, Ryan E. “In vivo analysis of a first-​in-​class tri-​alkyl norspermidine-​biaryl antibiotic in an active release coating to reduce the risk of implant-​related infection” Acta Biomaterialia,  2019  in press. PMID: 30710710
  • Williams, Dustin L.; Epperson, Richard T.; Ashton, Nicholas N.; Taylor, Nicholas B.; Kawaguchi, Brooke; Olsen, Raymond E.; Haussener, Travis J.; Sebahar, Paul R.; Allyn, Gina; Looper, Ryan E. “In Vitro Testing of a First-In-Class Tri-alkylnorspermidine-biaryl Antibiotic in an Anti-biofilm Silicone Coating” Acta Biomaterialia  2019in press. PMID:30769135
  • Vaden, R. M.; Guillen, K. P.; Salvant, J. M.; Santiago, C. B.; Gibbons, J. B.; Pathi, S. S.; Arunachalam, S.; Sigman, M. S.; Looper, R. E.; Welm, B. E., A Cancer-Selective Zinc Ionophore Inspired by the Natural Product Naamidine A. ACS Chem. Biol.  2019,14 (1), 106-117. PMID: 30571086
  • Laukka, T.; Myllykoski, M.; Looper, R. E.; Koivunen, P., Cancer-associated 2-oxoglutarate analogues modify histone methylation by inhibiting histone lysine demethylases. Journal of Molecular Biology  2018,430 (18, Part B), 3081-3092;
  • Philip, B.; Yu, D. X.; Silvis, M. R.; Shin, C. H.; Robinson, J. P.; Robinson, G. L.; Welker, A. E.; Angel, S. N.; Tripp, S. R.; Sonnen, J. A.; VanBrocklin, M. W.; Gibbons, R. J.; Looper, R. E.; Colman, H.; Holmen, S. L., Mutant IDH1 Promotes Glioma Formation In Vivo. Cell Rep.  2018,23 (5), 1553-1564;
  • Bharat, D.; Cavalcanti, R. R. M.; Petersen, C.; Begaye, N.; Cutler, B. R.; Costa, M. M. A.; Ramos, R. K. L. G.; Ferreira, M. R.; Li, Y.; Bharath, L. P.; Toolson, E.; Sebahar, P.; Looper, R. E.; Jalili, T.; Rajasekaran, N. S.; Jia, Z.; Symons, J. D.; Anandh Babu, P. V., Blueberry Metabolites Attenuate Lipotoxicity-Induced Endothelial Dysfunction. Nutr. Food Res.  2018,62 (2), n/a;
  • McBrayer SK, Mayers JR, DiNatale GJ, Shi DD, Khanal J, Chakraborty AA, Sarosiek KA, Briggs KJ, Robbins AK, Sewastianik T, Shareef SJ, Olenchock BA, Parker SJ, Tateishi K, Spinelli JB, Islam M, Haigis MC, Looper RE, Ligon KL, Bernstein BE, Carrasco RD, Cahill DP, Asara JM, Metallo CM, Yennawar NH, Vander Heiden MG, Kaelin WG. Transaminase Inhibition by 2-Hydroxyglutarate Impairs Glutamate Biosynthesis and Redox Homeostasis in Glioma.  Cell  2018, 175(1):101-116.e25. PMID: 30220459
  • Tuomas Laukka, Matti Myllykoski, Ryan E. Looper, Peppi Koivunen “Cancer-associated 2-oxoglutarate analogues modify histone methylation by inhibiting histone lysine demethylases” Mol. Biol  2018, 430, 3081-3092.
  • Joseph B. Gibbons, Justin M. Salvant, Rachel M. Vaden, Bryan E. Welm and Ryan E. Looper “A synthesis of naamidine A and selective access to N2-acyl-2-aminoimidazoles.” Org. Chem.  2015,80, 10076–10085.
  • Kaitlin J. Basham, Christopher J. Leonard, Collin Kieffer, Dawne N. Shelton, Vasudev R. Bhonde, Ryan E. Looper, and Bryan E. Welm “Dioxin Exposure Blocks Lactation Through a Direct Effect on Mammary Epithelial Cells Mediated by the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Repressor” Sci.  2015, 143 (1), 36-45. PMCID: PMC4274378
  • Jing Fan, Xin Teng, Ling Liu, Ryan E. Looper and Joshua D. Rabinowitz “Human phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase produces the oncometabolite D-2-hydroxyglutarate” ACS Chemical Biology  2015, 10, 510-516. PMCID:PMC4340346
Last Updated: 2/6/23