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Steven Van Lanen Headshot
All Faculty
Pharmaceutical Sciences Dept.
Lee T. Todd, Jr. Bldg, Room 321

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

Education & Appointments


  • PhD Portland State University
  • BS Univ Of Wisconsin


  • Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

We respectfully acknowledge the Elders and Traditional Owners of the land on which our building stands, which is the traditional territory of the Osage, Shawnee, Cherokee, Adena, and Hopewell peoples.