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Erin Carlson joins department as associate professor

Erin E. Carlson will join the Department of Chemistry as an associate professor with tenure on July 1, 2014.

"We are thrilled to have Erin join us," said William Tolman, chair of the Department of Chemistry. "She brings new, exciting, and interdisciplinary perspectives to our research and teaching efforts in chemical biology. Her work tackles critical problems associated with antibiotic resistance in novel ways that are already having significant impact."

Carlson received her bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College in 2000. She went on to graduate studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a doctorate in organic chemistry in 2005 under the direction of Professor Laura L. Kiessling. Her graduate career focused on the design and synthesis of mechanistic probes and inhibitors for carbohydrate-binding proteins, concentrating on the study of UDP-galactopyranose mutase (UGM), an enzyme involved in cell wall biosynthesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Carlson was awarded an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship for studies at The Scripps Research Institute with Professor Benjamin F. Cravatt. Carlson and Cravatt developed a global metabolite profiling strategy that utilizes chemoselective probes to enable enrichment and profiling of metabolites from complex biological systems. This technology, referred to as Metabolite Enrichment by Tagging and Proteolytic Release (METPR), facilitates the rigorous characterization of biochemical pathways through their most sensitive reporter, endogenous small molecules. In 2007, she received an NIH Pathway to Independence Award, and joined the faculty at Indiana University in the summer of 2008.

Carlson's research program centers around the development and application of advanced chemical biology and systems biology technologies to both define the mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and identify potential therapeutic agents. She is pursuing the development of technologies for natural product discovery including innovative methods for compound isolation, screening, and diversification. Carlson also is utilizing state-of-the-art metabolomic and proteomic methods to map the biochemical pathways associated with bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance.

Since the start of her independent career, Carlson has won numerous awards including being named a Pew Biomedical Scholar, the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Indiana University Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, the National Science Foudnation CAREER Award, and the Cottrell Scholar Award. She also was named a Sloan Research Fellow and an Indiana University Dean's Fellow. She has been highlighted in several videos, including one produced by NBC in their Science Behind The News series supported by the NSF, and a "Brilliant Minds" video produced by Indiana University. Carlson was also named one of "Tomorrow's PIs" in the sixth annual issue of Genome Technology.