Alanna Schepartz is Milton Harris '29 PhD Professor of Chemistry, with a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University. She is also the Director of the Yale Chemical Biology Institute.
Alanna Schepartz proposes to significantly alter the undergraduate course of chemistry study at Yale to provide early, hands-on exposure to one of the fastest-growing areas of modern chemistry: chemical biology. She will create a pair of year-long courses—Chemical Biology and Chemical Biology Laboratory—that begin in the second semester of the sophomore year. This pair of courses will serve several purposes. First, they will illustrate to undergraduates, early in their careers, that chemical biology is an exciting, dynamic, and expanding field. Second, these courses will add depth and breadth to the ability of students to comprehend and apply biochemistry and molecular and cellular biology. Third, and perhaps most uniquely, they will demonstrate that the pursuit of knowledge through creative and rigorous research—the work that scientists actually do—is intellectually satisfying and fun.
Alanna Schepartz, PhD, is the Milton Harris ’29 PhD Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University.
Schepartz was born on January 9, 1962, in New York City and was graduated from Forest Hills High School in 1978. After receiving a BS degree in Chemistry from the State University of New York-Albany in 1982, Schepartz carried out graduate work at Columbia University under the supervision of Ronald Breslow. Following postdoctoral work with Peter Dervan at the California Institute of Technology, she joined the faculty at Yale University in July of 1988. She was promoted to Associate Professor in 1992, to Full Professor with tenure in 1995, and was named the Milton Harris, '29 PhD Professor of Chemistry in 2000. From 2002-2007, she held a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professorship. In 2011, she was appointed as the Director of the Yale Chemical Biology Institute.
Schepartz is known for the creative application of chemical synthesis and principles to understand and control biological recognition and function. Her research has contributed to and shaped thinking in multiple areas, including the molecular mechanisms of protein-DNA recognition and transcriptional activation; protein design and engineering and their application to synthetic biology; and the mechanisms by which chemical information is trafficked across biological compartments. She is also widely recognized for her design of the first and only example of protein-like architecture that lacks even a single a-amino acid.