Cliff Stains

Associate Professor of Chemistry
Room 243, Chemistry Building


B.S. Millersville University, 2002

Ph.D. University of Arizona, 2008

NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT, 2008-2011

Design and Application of Chemical Biology Tools for Studying Cellular Communication

Our laboratory conducts research at the interface of chemistry and biology by employing new chemical tools and design principles to better understand fundamental aspects of cellular communication. Our research program is centered on three areas involving: 1) synthesis and application of new fluorescent and luminescent bioprobes, 2) new methodologies for constructing designer signaling networks, and 3) new approaches to study protein folding mechanisms in living cells. The long-term goal of these projects is to provide insights into signaling processes associated with normal physiology as well as human diseases such as liver disease, diabetes, and cancer. These multidisciplinary efforts are supported by a combination of approaches including synthesis, protein design and evolution, bioanalytical chemistry, and molecular biology.

Selected Publications:

Zhou, X.; Fang, Y.; Lesiak, L. & Stains, C. I. A Phosphinate-Containing Fluorophore Capable of Selectively Inducing Apoptosis in Cancer Cells. ChemBioChem In Press.

Yuan, F.; Good, G. N.; Zhou, X. & Stains, C. I. Phosphinate-Containing Rhodol and Fluorescein Scaffolds for the Development of Bioprobes. Chem. Commun. 55, 5962-5965 (2019).

Zhou, X.; Lesiak, L.; Lai, R.; Beck, J. R.; Zhao, J.; Elowsky, C. G.; Li, H. & Stains, C. I. Chemoselective Alteration of Fluorophore Scaffolds as a Strategy for the Development of Ratiometric Chemodosimeters. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 56, 4197-4200 (2017).

Zhou, X.; Lai, R.; Beck, J. R.; Li, H. & Stains, C. I. Nebraska Red: A Phosphinate-Based Near-Infrared Fluorophore Scaffold for Chemical Biology Applications. Chem. Commun. 52, 12290-12293 (2016).

Beck, J. R.; Lawrence, A.; Tung, A.; Harris, E. N. & Stains, C. I. Interrogating Endogenous Phosphatase Activity with Rationally Designed Chemosensors. ACS Chem. Biol. 11, 284-290 (2016).

Zhao, J.; Nelson, T. J.; Vu, Q.; Truong, T. & Stains, C. I. Self-Assembling NanoLuc Luciferase Fragments as Probes for Protein Aggregation in Living Cells. ACS Chem. Biol. 11, 132-138 (2016).

Xu, B.; Zhou, X. & Stains, C. I. Supramolecular Assembly of an Evolved Miniprotein Host and Fluorogenic Guest Pair. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 137, 14252-14255 (2015).

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