Dr. Jon Thorson
Dr. Jon Thorson


Jon received his B.A. degree in chemistry (1986) from Augsburg College and a Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry (1993) from the University of Minnesota with Professor Hung-wen (Ben) Liu. He held a postdoctoral appointment as a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation (1993-1996) at the University of California, Berkeley with Professor Peter Schultz. From 1996-2001, Jon held appointments as an assistant member of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and assistant professor of Sloan-Kettering Division, Joan and Sanford I. Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Cornell University. In 2001 Professor Thorson moved to the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy and during his tenure with UW, Jon was instrumental in establishing the Wisconsin Center for Natural Products Research, the NCI-supported UW National Cooperative Drug Discovery Group and the NATPRO Protein Structure Initiative. Professor Thorson joined the UK College of Pharmacy in the Fall of 2011 where he serves as the first director of the new UK Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation. Professor Thorson also currently serves as the co-Director of the Markey Cancer Center’s Drug Discovery, Delivery and Translational Therapeutics Program and co-Director of the Drug Discovery and Development Core in the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science. His research interests include understanding and exploiting biosynthetic pathways and enzyme mechanisms, bioorganic and chemoselective ligation chemistries, enzyme engineering and evolution, natural products discovery and bioprospecting. Professor Thorson has also been credited with establishing the general area of natural product glycorandomization and is a co-founder of the Madison-based biotechnology company Centrose. Issued Patents PubMed Profile YouTube Videos PDB Depositions Current NIH Support GenBank Depositions Google Scholar Profile Web of Science Profile


  • Enzyme mechanism, engineering/evolution and synthetic applications
  • Lead/probe discovery and development
  • Natural products discovery and biosynthesis

Recent Publications

  • Marshall D J, Harried S S, Murphy J L, Hall C A, Shekhani M S, Pain C, Lyons C A, Chillemi A, Malavasi F, Pearce H L, Thorson Jon S., Prudent J R. (2016). Extracellular antibody drug conjugates exploiting the proximity of two proteins. Molecular Therapy, in press, doi:10.1038/mt.2016.119.
  • Huber T D, Wang F, Singh Shanteri, Johnson B R, Zhang J, Sunkara M, Van Lanen Steven, Morris Andrew James, Phillips, Jr G N, Thorson Jon S. (2016). Functional AdoMet isosteres resistant to classical AdoMet degradation pathways. ACS Chemical Biology, in press, doi:10.1021/acschembio.6b00348.
  • Han L, Singh Shanteri, Thorson Jon S., Phillips, Jr G N. (2016). Loop dynamics of thymidine diphosphate-rhamnose 3'-O-methyltransferase (CalS11), an enzyme in calicheamicin biosynthesis. Structural Dynamics (Melville, N.Y.), 3(1), 012004.
  • Ponomareva L V, Athippozhy A, Thorson Jon S., Voss S. Randall. (2015). Using Ambystoma mexicanum (Mexican axolotl) embryos, chemical genetics, and microarray analysis to identify signaling pathways associated with tissue regeneration. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Toxicology & Pharmacology, 178, 128-35.
  • Elshahawi S I, Shaaban K A, Kharel M K, Thorson Jon S. (2015). A comprehensive review of glycosylated bacterial natural products. Chemical Society Reviews, 44(21), 7591-697.
  • Singh Shanteri, Michalska K, Bigelow L, Endres M, Kharel M K, Babnigg G, Yennamalli R M, Bingman C A, Joachimiak A, Thorson Jon S., Phillips, Jr G N. (2015). Structural characterization of CalS8, a TDP-α-D-glucose dehydrogenase involved in calicheamicin aminodideoxypentose biosynthesis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290(43), 26249-58.
  • Peltier-Pain P, Singh Shanteri, Thorson Jon S. (2015). Characterization of early enzymes involved in TDP-aminodideoxypentose biosynthesis en route to indolocarbazole AT2433. Chembiochem : a European Journal of Chemical Biology, 16(15), 2141-6.
  • Wang F, Singh Shanteri, Xu W, Helmich K E, Miller M D, Cao H, Bingman C A, Thorson Jon S., Phillips, Jr G N. (2015). Structural basis for the stereochemical control of amine installation in nucleotide sugar aminotransferases. ACS Chemical Biology, 10(9), 2048-56.
  • Zhang Y, Ye Qiang, Wang X, She Qing-Bai, Thorson Jon S. (2015). A divergent enantioselective strategy for the synthesis of griseusins. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 54(38), 11219-22.
  • Singh Shanteri, Kim Y, Wang F, Bigelow L, Endres M, Kharel M K, Babnigg G, Bingman C A, Joachimiak A, Thorson Jon S., Phillips, Jr G N. (2015). Structural characterization of AtmS13, a putative sugar aminotransferase involved in indolocarbazole AT2433 aminopentose biosynthesis. Proteins, 83(8), 1547-54.