Olaf Wiest

Grace-Rupley Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry

305E Mccourtney Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556
+1 574-631-5876


Research Areas

  • Organic Chemistry

Research Specialties

  • Medicine
  • Theory

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Year Title
2024-present Grace-Rupley Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame
2005-2024 Professor, University of Notre Dame
2001-2005 Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
1996-2001 Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
1993-1995 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
1993 Dr. rer. nat. University of Bonn, Germany
1991 Diplom, University of Bonn, Germany

Selected Awards

2012   Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

2004   John Kaneb Award for undergraduate teaching

2001   Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award

1997   NSF CAREER Award

1997   NIH First Award

Research Interests

The central topic of the research in the Wiest group is how molecules interact and react. The structure and energetics of non-covalent complexes and transition states is probed theoretically and experimentally. The detailed understanding of intermolecular interactions can then be exploited for the design of assays for biophysical studies and for drug design. Four distinct areas of research are currently under investigation: (1) development of epigenetic modulators targeting histone deacetylases and bromodomains as chemical tools and drug leads, (2) rare and neglected diseases, specifically Niemann Pick Type C disease, (3) mechanistic studies of transition metal and enzyme catalyzed reactions, and (4) development of Q2MM methods for the virtual screening of chiral ligands for asymmetric catalysis.

The research in the Wiest group uses a wide range of experimental and computational methods that are applied to fundamental and applied problems in organic and biophysical chemistry. In this work, we collaborate with a number of other researchers in synthetic chemistry, biology, physics, and at medical schools at Notre Dame and around the world.

Selected Publications

  • Narkhede, Y.; Saxena, R.; Sharma, T.; Conarty, J. P.; Ramirez, V. T.; Motsa, B. B.; Amiar, S.; Li, S.; Chapagain, P. P.; Wiest, O. and Stahelin, R. V. "Computational and Experimental Identification of Keystone Interactions in Ebola Virus Matrix Protein VP40 Dimer Formation" 2024 Protein Science, 33 (5), e4978. DOI: 10.1002/pro.4978.
  • Purohit, V.; Steussy, C. N.; Rosales, A. R.; Critchelow, C. J.; Schmidt, T.; Helquist, P.; Wiest, O.; Mesecar, A.; Cohen, A. E. and Stauffacher, C. V. "pH-Dependent Reaction Triggering in PmHMGR Crystals for Time-Resolved Crystallography" 2024 Biophysical Journal, 123 (5), pp.622-637. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2024.02.003.
  • Bacher, E. P.; Twiringiyimana, R.; Rodriguez, K. X.; Wilson, R. A.; Bodnar, A. K.; O'Connell, R.; Toni, T. A.; Eckert, K. E.; Wiest, O. and Ashfeld, B. L. "A Proline-Squaraine Ligand Framework (Pro-SqEB) for Stereoselective Rhodium(II)-Catalyzed Cyclopropanations" 2023 Organic Letters, 25 (45), pp.8156-8161. DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.3c03344.
  • Maloney, M. P.; Stenfors, B. A.; Helquist, P.; Norrby, P. O. and Wiest, O. "Interplay of Computation and Experiment in Enantioselective Catalysis: Rationalization, Prediction, and-Correction?" 2023 ACS Catalysis, 13 (21), pp.14285-14299. DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.3c03921.
  • Narkhede, Y. B.; Bhardwaj, A.; Motsa, B. B.; Saxena, R.; Sharma, T.; Chapagain, P. P.; Stahelin, R. V. and Wiest, O. "Elucidating Residue-Level Determinants Affecting Dimerization of Ebola Virus Matrix Protein using High-Throughput Site Saturation Mutagenesis and Biophysical Approaches" 2023 Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 127 (29), pp.6449-6461. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c01759.
  • Patel, H. N.; Haines, B. E.; Stauffacher, C. V.; Helquist, P. and Wiest, O. "Computational Study of Base-Catalyzed Thiohemiacetal Decomposition in Pseudomonas Mevalonii HMG-CoA Reductase" 2023 Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 127 (22), pp.4931-4938. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c08969.