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Modi Wetzler

Photo of Modi WetzlerResearch Assistant Professor
Organic Chemistry

(864) 656-5798
371 Hunter Chemistry Laboratories

Research Interests | Publications | Research Group

Dr. Wetzler earned a B.A. (1999) from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and a Ph.D. (2007) from the University of California at Berkeley, developing synthetic methods and medicinal applications for DNA-binding polyamide ligands. He completed his postdoctoral studies at Stanford University (2007-2011) with Dr. Annelise Barron, studying the mechanisms of antimicrobial peptidomimetics called peptoids.>

Research Interests

Dr. Wetzler's research utilizes peptoids (N-substituted polyglycines) as a synthetic platform for developing applications in medicinal chemistry, materials and nanotechnology. Peptoids are more easily synthesized than peptides, and retain many of the useful properties of peptides while imparting important new advantages. Medicinally, peptoids are completely resistant to proteases that rapidly cleave most peptide drugs in the blood, and they have also been synthesized with over 230 side chains compared to the natural ~20 amino acids. Advantageously for materials and nanotechnology applications, peptoid structure does not unfold at high temperatures, in organic solvents, or in extreme pH and salt conditions, unlike most proteins.

Research in the Wetzler group focuses on a range of topics, from fundamental study of peptoid structure and folding to applications in diverse fields utilizing techniques from organic chemistry and biochemistry. Specific projects include: synthetic developments to modify peptoid backbones and side chains to control structure; developing peptoids for chiral separations; utilizing peptoids as structural frameworks in medicinal chemistry; and utilizing peptoids as ligands for metal catalysis and separations. These projects and others are being pursued to capitalize upon the unique advantage of peptoids in a diverse range of discplines.

Modi Wetzler illustrations


Wetzler M.; Kapoor, R.; Huang, W.; Barron, A.E. "Peptoids: Peptidomimetic Polymers for Diverse Biomedical Applications." In Comprehensive Polymer Science, 2nd ed.; Wiley-Blackwell: New York, 2012; Vol. 9

Wetzler, M.; Barron, A.E. "Progress in the De Novo Design of Structured Peptoid Protein Mimics," Biopolymers: Peptide Science, 2011, 95 556-560 (available online at DOI: 10.1002/bip.21621).

Chongsiriwatana, N. P.; Miller, T. M.; Wetzler, M.; Vakulenko, S.; Karlsson, A. J.; Palacek, S. P.; Mobashery, S.; Barron, A. E. "Short Alkylated Peptoid Mimics of Antimicrobial Lipopeptides," Antimicrob. Agents and Chemother. 2011, 55, 417-420 (available online at DOI: 10.1128/AAC.01080-10).

Wetzler, M.; Wemmer, D. E. "Facile Dimer Synthesis for DNA-Binding Polyamide Ligands," Org. Lett., 2010, 12, 3488-3490 (available online at DOI: 10.1021/ol1013262).

Uchida, M.; McDermott, G.; Wetzler, M.; LeGros, M. A.; Myllys, M.; Knoechel, C.; Barron, A. E.; Larabell, C. A. "Soft X-Ray Tomography of Candida albicans: Insights into Phenotypic Switching and the Cellular Response to Antifungal Peptoids," Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 2009, 106, 19375-19380 (available online at DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0906145106).