Felicia Etzkorn

Felicia Etzkorn
209 Davidson Hall

Research Interests
The three-dimensional structures of proteins have an inherent beauty. We explore the structure and function of proteins by designing and synthesizing mimics of peptides, a process of sculpture on the molecular level. We design the organic molecules using computers, and synthesize each one using stereoselective reactions. We make peptide mimics to constrain biopolymers inspired by the structural protein, collagen. Pin1 is an enzyme that regulates cell signaling in a wide range of disease states. We make inhibitors of Pin1, and investigate the potential of these compounds to fight a variety of cancers, asthma, diabetes, cocaine addiction, and Alzheimer's diseases.

  1. Etzkorn, F. A.; Ware, R. I.; Pester, A. M.; Troya, D. Conformational Analysis of n→π* Interactions in Collagen Triple Helix Models, J. Phys. Chem. B 2019123, 496-503. 
  2. Felicia A. Etzkorn and Song Zhao, Stereospecific Phosphorylation by the Central Mitotic Kinase Cdk1-cyclin B, ACS Chem Biol, Special Issue: New Frontiers in Kinases 201510, doi: 10.1021/cb500815b
  3. Chen XR, Fan SA, Etzkorn FA, Stereochemical control in the Still-Wittig rearrangement synthesis of cyclohexyl (Z)-alkene inhibitors of Pin1, PLOS One, 2015, 10, e0139543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0139543
  4. Mayfield JE, Fan S,† Wei S, Zhang M, Li B, Ellington AD, Etzkorn FA, Zhang Y. Chemical tools to decipher regulation of phosphatases by proline isomerization on eukaryotic RNA polymerase II. ACS Chem Biol201510(10), 2405-2414. doi:10.1021/acschembio.5b00296
  5. Mercedes-Camacho, A. Y.; Mullins, A. B.; Mason, M. D.; Xu, G. G.; Mahoney, B. J.; Wang, X.; Peng, J. W.; Etzkorn, F. A. Kinetic isotope effects support the twisted amide mechanism of Pin1 peptidyl-prolyl isomerase, Biochemistry 201352, 7707-7713. doi: 10.1021/bi400700b
  • NIH FIRST Award, 1996
  • University Teaching Fellowship, University of Virginia, 1996
  • B.S. Southwest Missouri State University, 1981
  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, 1991
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Harvard Medical School, 1991–1993