Nicola Pohl, PhD
Professor and Joan & Marvin Carmack Chair
Bloomington, IN 47405
The Pohl research group is finding new ways to make and analyze sugars to dissect their important roles in plant, animal, and human biology and in biomass production. One major long-term goal is to rationally design therapeutic interventions such as vaccines based on a deeper knowledge of these carbohydrate interactions. Most recently, we have created the first automated solution-phase method to readily synthesize oligosaccharides using methodologies that we are applying to other biologically active molecules. This automated method circumvents key problems encountered with the solid-phase approaches that allowed commercial automated synthesis of other biopolymers like DNA and peptides. We have also discovered that the same fluorocarbon tag that facilitates our automated synthesis can be used to directly surface-pattern these tagged molecules to form carbohydrate microarrays for screening against carbohydrate-binding proteins. In addition, the group has found several extremely heat-stable enzymes analyzed by mass-spectrometry-based assays to make carbohydrate structures.
Nicola Pohl, professor of chemistry and the Joan and Marvin Carmack Chair in Bioorganic Chemistry, received her B.A. degree from Harvard College in 1991 and her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. Following an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, she joined the faculty at Iowa State University in the fall of 2000. She was a professor of chemistry and of chemical and biological engineering and held the Wilkinson Professor of Interdisciplinary Engineering at Iowa State University before moving to Indiana University in summer 2012.