Lou Charkoudian


     (1) B.S., Chemistry, Haverford College

     (2) Ph.D., Chemistry, Duke University


Current Research

    I am currently investigating the mechanisms of bacterial polyketide synthases (PKSs) with the ultimate goal of harnessing the energy of these systems as a source of novel and affordable therapeutic agents.  Bacteria synthesize diverse and structurally complex bioactive molecules through an elegant assembly-line of enzymes, PKSs, that carry out step-wise biochemical transformations.  I seek to understand these PKSs at a fundamental level by interrogating their kinetics, protein-protein interactions, and biosynthetic mechanisms.  Specifically, I probe the catalytic mechanism of PKSs using advanced molecular biology techniques, elucidate structural components of modular PKSs involved in protein-protein interactions by 2D NMR, and determine the bottlenecks of polyketide processing through modular systems by in vitro kinetic analysis.  I apply my knowledge of the intricacies of these remarkable systems towards creating functional engineered PKSs that produce novel polyketide products.

lcharkou @ stanford (dot) edu


Charkoudian, L. K.; Farrell, B. F.; Khosla, C.  “Natural Product Inhibitors of Glucose-6-Phosphate Translocase.”  Med. Chem. Comm.  2012, available online DOI: 10.1039/c2md20008b.

Charkoudian, L. K.; Liu, C. W.; Capone, S.; Kapur, S.; Cane, D. E.; Togni, A.; Seebach, D.; Khosla, C.  “Probing the Interactions of an Acyl Carrier Protein Domain from the 6-Deoxyerythronolide B Synthase.”  Protein Science. 2011, 20, 1244-1255.

Charkoudian, L. K.; Fitzgerald, J. F.; Khosla, C.; Champlin, A.  “In Living Color: Bacterial Pigments as an Untapped Resource in the Classroom and Beyond”.  PLoS Biology, 2010, 8, 10, e1000510.

Zaleta, K. R.*; Charkoudian, L. K.*; Ridley, C. P.; Khosla, C.  “Cloning, Sequencing, Heterologous Expression, and Mechanistic Analysis of A-74528 Biosynthesis.” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2010, 132, 9122-9128.

Charkoudian, L. K.; Dentchev, T.; Lukinova, N.; Wolkow, N.; Dunaief, J. L.; Franz, K. J.  “Iron Prochelator BSIH Protects Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells against Cell Death Induced by Hydrogen Peroxide.  J. Inorg. Biochem2008, 102, 2130-2135.

Charkoudian, L. K; Heymann, J. J.; Adler, M. J.; Haas, K. L.; Mies, K. A.; Bonk, J. F. “Forensics as a Gateway:  Promoting Undergraduate Interest in Science and Graduate Student Pedagogical Development Through a First-Year Seminar Course.”  J. Chem. Ed.  2008, 85, 807 – 812.

Charkoudian, L. K.; Pham, D. M.; Kwan, A.; Vangeloff, A.; Franz, K. J.  “Modifications of Boronic Ester Pro-chelators Triggered by Hydrogen Peroxide Tune Reactivity to Inhibit Metal-Promoted Oxidative Stress.  Dalton Trans. 2007, 43, 5031-5042.

Charkoudian, L. K.; Pham, D. M.; Franz, K. J.  “A Pro-chelator Triggered by Hydrogen Peroxide Inhibits Iron-Promoted Hydroxyl Radical Formation.”  J. Am. Chem. Soc.  2006, 128, 12424 – 12425.

Franz, K. J.; Charkoudian, L. K.  ROS-Sensitive Iron Chelators and Methods of Using the Same.  US Patent 20100004204, 2006.

Charkoudian, L.K.; Franz, K.J.  “Fe(III) Coordination Properties of Neuromelanin Components:  5, 6- Dihydroxyindole and 5, 6- Dihydroxyindole-2-carboxylic Acid.”  Inorg. Chem. 2006, 45, 3657-3664.

*Co-first author; Undergraduate student author


NIH Postdoctoral National Research Service Award Fellowship  (F32)                 2009—present

Paul Mangus Gross Research Fellowship   2007—2008

John Herbert Pearson Teaching Award 2007

Pelham Wilder Fellowship for “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” 2006

Kathleen Zielik Fellowship for “Excellence in Research” 2005

Joe Taylor Adams Award for an “Outstanding Graduate Student in Chemistry” 2004

George Pierce Prize in Organic Chemistry 2003

American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry 2002

Marine Biological Laboratory Associates’ Award recipient 2001

Millipore Foundation Scholarship Award Recipient 1999—2003