Olaf Wiest

Olaf Wiest

Organic & Bioorganic reaction mechanisms


Professor, University of Notre Dame
Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame
Assistant Professor, University of Notre Dame
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. rer. nat. University of Bonn, Germany
Diplom, University of Bonn, Germany

Selected Awards

Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
John Kaneb Award for undergraduate teaching
Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
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.

Recent Publications

  • Work, E. M., Ferraudi, G., Kiefer, L., Liu, G., Grigalunas, M., Bhardwaj, A., Kaur, R., Dempsey, J. M., Wüstner, D., Helquist, P., Wiest, O. "Design, Synthesis, and Evaluation of a Luminescent Cholesterol Mimic" 2021 Journal of Organic Chemistry, 86 (2), pp. 1612-1621. DOI:10.1021/acs.joc.0c02460.
  • Rosales, A. R., Ross, S. P., Helquist, P., Norrby, P. -., Sigman, M. S., Wiest, O., Wiest, O. "Transition State Force Field for the Asymmetric Redox-Relay Heck Reaction" 2020 Journal of the American Chemical Society, 142 (21), pp. 9700-9707. DOI:10.1021/jacs.0c01979.
  • Salahi, F., Wiest, O. "Regioselective Alkylation of Pyridinium Riboses" 2020 European Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2020 (4), pp. 446-449. DOI:10.1002/ejoc.201901603.
  • Scott, J. L., Frick, C. T., Johnson, K. A., Liu, H., Yong, S. S., Varney, A. G., Wiest, O., Stahelin, R. V. "Molecular analysis of membrane targeting by the C2 domain of the E3 ubiquitin ligase smurf1" 2020 Biomolecules, 10 (2), 229. DOI:10.3390/biom10020229.
  • Davidson, J., Molitor, E., Moores, S., Gale, S. E., Subramanian, K., Jiang, X., Sidhu, R., Kell, P., Zhang, J., Fujiwara, H., Davidson, C., Helquist, P., Melancon, B. J., Grigalunas, M., Liu, G., Salahi, F., Wiest, O., Xu, X., Porter, F. D., Pipalia, N. H., Cruz, D. L., Holson, E. B., Schaffer, J. E., Walkley, S. U., Maxfield, F. R., Ory, D. S. "2-Hydroxypropyl-ß-cyclodextrin is the active component in a triple combination formulation for treatment of Niemann-Pick C1 disease" 2019 Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids, 1864 (10), pp. 1545-1561. DOI:10.1016/j.bbalip.2019.04.011.
  • Gryder, B. E., Wu, L., Woldemichael, G. M., Pomella, S., Quinn, T. R., Park, P. M. C., Cleveland, A., Stanton, B. Z., Song, Y., Rota, R., Wiest, O., Yohe, M. E., Shern, J. F., Qi, J., Khan, J. "Chemical genomics reveals histone deacetylases are required for core regulatory transcription" 2019 Nature Communications, 10 (1), 3004. DOI:10.1038/s41467-019-11046-7.

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