Mark Walker

Assistant Professor

Photo: Mark Walker
505 274-4708
Clark Hall 227
Lab Website

Research Area/s:

Chemical Biology and Biochemistry


  • B.A. Biochemistry, 2004, Oberlin College
  • Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2013, University of California, Berkeley
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-2018, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Living systems produce a tremendous diversity of small molecules that have transformed society. These natural products serve as the basis for a wide array of chemical functions from drugs and pesticides to food preservatives and materials. Interestingly, although tens of thousands of natural products have been characterized to date, genome sequencing efforts of the past decade have revealed that the known set of natural products represents only about ten percent of all natural products that exist. Our group is addressing the fundamental challenge of accelerating the rate of discovery and characterization of novel natural products and natural product-like compounds. To do so, we are using the tools of genome mining, synthetic biology, directed evolution, and next generation sequencing. Our goal is to help address societal challenges such as the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria through understanding and engineering natural product biosynthesis.

Selected Publications

  • Hetrick, K.J.*, Walker, M.C.*, and van der Donk, W.A. Development and application of yeast and phage display of diverse lanthipeptides. ACS Cent. Sci.  2018, 4(4), 458-467.
  • Yang, X., Lennard, K.R., He, C., Walker, M.C., Ball, A.T., Tavassoli, A., and van der Donk, W.A. Generation and screening of a lanthipeptide library for inhibitors of the p6/UEV protein-protein interaction. Nat. Chem. Biol.  2017, 14(4), 375.
  • Walker, M.C.*, Thuronyi, B.W.*, Charkoudian, L.K., Khosla, C., and Chang, M.C.Y. Expanding the fluorine chemistry of living systems using engineered polyketide synthase pathways. Science 2013, 341(6150), 1089-1094.

  • Walker, M.C., Wen, M., Weeks, A.M., Chang, M.C.Y. Temporal and fluoride control of secondary metabolism regulates cellular organofluorine biosynthesis. ACS Chem. Biol.  2012, 7(9), 1576-1585.