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Mark E. Welker
William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry, Associate Provost for Research
B.S. Chemistry with Highest Honors, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1981);
Ph.D., Florida State University (L.S. Liebeskind) (1985);
Postdoctoral Fellow (Exxon & NIH), University of California-Berkeley (K.P.C. Vollhardt) (1985-86);
Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation Research Leave (1991);
Dreyfus Foundation Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awardee (1994-99);
R.J. Reynolds Foundation Research Leave, (1996).
Program Officer, Division of Chemistry, Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program, National Science Foundation, 2001-2002 Associate Provost for Research 2003-present
Phone: (336) 758-5758
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Description of Research
Dr. Welker's group works in the areas of synthetic organic/organometallic chemistry and medicinal chemistry. In the area of new synthetic methods, they are developing the synthesis of boron and silicon substituted 1,3 dienes. Those dienes are then used in transition metal catalyzed Diels-Alder reactions to produce cyclohexenes with product stereochemistries which are difficult to obtain by classical organic Diels-Alder reactions. They use this methodology to construct the core features of biologically active decalins. In the area of medicinal chemistry, the group is working on the synthesis of PI3 kinase inhibitors which are targeted to prostate cancer. DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) is a member of the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase family. PI3K inhibitors decrease a prostate cancer cells' ability to inhibit apoptosis (programmed cell death) after radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Since PI3 kinases are involved in a number of cellular signalling pathways, prostate cancer specific PI3K inhibitors would be of value.