Dr. Steven Van Lanen
Dr. Steven Van Lanen

Associate Professor

Dr. Van Lanen’s research is centered on identifying and characterizing the biosynthetic pathways for bioactive natural products that have unknown or distinct modes of action relative to clinically-used drugs. Natural products currently being investigated include peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics with antifungal or antibacterial activity and sideromycins, or hybrid siderophore-antibiotics. The primary goals are i) to define a mechanism of biosynthesis using in vivo and in vitro approaches, ii) to elucidate the function and mechanism of enzymes that catalyze novel or unusual chemistry, and iii) to manipulate the biosynthetic machinery to rationally prepare novel compounds with improved pharmacological properties. Prior to joining the University of Kentucky in 2007, Dr. Van Lanen was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Ben Shen at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2003 he received his Ph.D from Portland State University in Chemistry under the guidance of Professor Dirk Iwata-Reuyl.


  • Antibiotic drug discovery
  • Biosynthesis of peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics and related anticancer natural products
  • Biosynthetis of nucleoside antibiotics targeting bacterial translocase I (MraY)
  • Function and mechanism of nonribosomal synthetases and peptide modifying enzymes
  • Oxidative enzymes in natural product biosynthesis

Recent Publications

  • Cai W, Wang X, Elshahawi S I, Ponomareva L V, Liu X, McErlean M R, Cui Z, Arlinghaus A L, Thorson Jon S, Van Lanen Steven. (2016). Antibacterial and cytotoxic actinomycins Y6-Y9 and Zp from Streptomyces sp. strain Gö-GS12. Journal of Natural Products, 79(10), 2731-39.
  • 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, 11(9), 2484-91.
  • Liu X, Jin Ying, Cui Z, Nonaka K, Baba S, Funabashi M, Yang Z, Van Lanen Steven. (2016). The Role of a Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase in l-Lysine Lactamization During Capuramycin Biosynthesis. Chembiochem : a European journal of chemical biology, 17(9), 804-10.
  • Liu X, Jin Ying, Cai W, Green Keith D, Goswami A, Garneau-Tsodikova Sylvie, Nonaka K, Baba S, Funabashi M, Yang Z, Van Lanen Steven. (2016). A biocatalytic approach to capuramycin analogues by exploiting a substrate permissive N-transacylase CapW. Organic & biomolecular chemistry, 14(16), 3956-62.
  • Kulkarni A, Zeng Y, Zhou W, Van Lanen Steven, Zhang W, Chen S. (2015). A Branch Point of Streptomyces Sulfur Amino Acid Metabolism Controls the Production of Albomycin. Applied and environmental microbiology, 82(2), 467-77.
  • Wang X, Reynolds A R, Elshahawi S I, Shaaban K A, Ponomareva L V, Saunders M A, Elgumati I S, Zhang Y, Copley G C, Hower James C, Sunkara M, Morris Andrew James, Kharel M K, Van Lanen Steven, Prendergast Mark, Thorson Jon S. (2015). Terfestatins B and C, New p-terphenyl glycosides produced by Streptomyces sp. RM-5-8. Organic Letters, 17(11), 2796-9.
  • Goswami Anwesha. (2015). Enzymatic strategies and biocatalysts for amide bond formation: Tricks of the trade outside of the ribosome. Molecular Biosystems, 11(2), 338-53.
  • Singh Shanteri, Zhang J, Huber T D, Sunkara M, Hurley K, Goff R D, Wang G, Zhang W, Liu Chunming, Rohr Jurgen, Van Lanen Steven, Morris Andrew James, Thorson Jon S. (2014). Facile chemoenzymatic strategies for the synthesis and utilization of S-adenosyl-L-methionine analogues. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 53(15), 3965-69.
  • Bachmann B O, Van Lanen Steven, Baltz R H. (2014). Microbial genome mining for accelerated natural products discovery: is a renaissance in the making?. Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology, 41(2), 175-84.
  • Funabashi M, Baba S, Takatsu T, Kizuka M, Ohata Y, Tanaka M, Nonaka K, Spork A P, Ducho C, Chen W C, Van Lanen Steven. (2013). Structure-based gene targeting discovery of sphaerimicin, a bacterial translocase I inhibitor. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 52(44), 11607-11.