W. Thomas Shier, PhD

Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

W. Thomas Shier

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-9465

Fax 612-626-3114

Office Address:
8-168 Weaver-Densford Hall

Mailing Address:
University of Minnesota
College of Pharmacy
Department of Medicinal Chemistry
8-101 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Doctoral Degree, University of Illinois, 1970

Masters Degree, University of Illinois, 1968

Bachelors Degree, University of Waterloo, 1966

PostDoc, Salk Institute, 1972



Antibiotics, Mycotoxins, Genome mining, Extremophiles

Awards & Recognition

  • Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2001.


Research Summary/Interests

The major focus of research in this laboratory is on developing new antibiotic drug discovery and production platforms.The research is focused on the following three approaches:

(1) Fungi that infect plants from the soil enter roots by releasing mycotoxins that target dividing cells in meristematic tissue.These mycotoxins are being investigated as a potential source of anticancer antibiotics.

(2) Genome mining as an approach to producing relatively large amounts of potential drugs from coral reef organisms and other sources by transferring biosynthesis gene packages to a Streptomyces species that grows well in culture and produces antibiotic well under industrial fermentation conditions.

(3) A strategy for finding novel antibiotics in screening programs has been to examine extremophiles of various types.We are exploring toxic waste dumps as a novel application of this strategy.


PubMed Bibliography

Abbas, H.K., W.T. Shier, J. Plasencia, M.A. Weaver, N. Bellaloui, J. Kotowicz, A. Butler, C. Accinelli, M.E. de la Torre-Hernandez, R.M. Zablotowicz (2017) Mycotoxin contamination in corn smut (Ustilago maydis) galls in the field and in the commercial food products. Food Control, 71, 57-63.

Oroojalian F., Rezayan A.H., Shier W.T., Abnous K., Ramezani M. (2017) Megalin-targeted enhanced transfection efficiency in cultured human HK-2 renal tubular proximal cells using aminoglycoside-carboxyalkyl-polyethylenimine-containing nanoplexes. Intl. J. Pharmaceutics 523, 102-120.

Nia A.H., Behnam B., Taghavi S., Oroojalian F., Eshghi H.,Shier W.T., Abnous K., Ramezani M. (2017) Evaluation of chemical modification effects on DNA plasmid transfection efficiency of single-walled carbon nanotube–succinate–polyethylenimine conjugates as non-viral gene carriers.Med. Chem. Commun., 8, 364-375.

Dolatabad H.K., Javan-Nikkhah M., Shier W.T. (2017) Evaluation of antifungal, phosphate solubilization, and siderophore and chitinase release activities of endophytic fungi from Pistacia vera. Mycological Progress, 16, 777-790.

Oroojalian F., Rezayan A.H., Mehrnejad F., Nia A.H., Shier W.T., Abnous K., Ramezani M. (2017) Efficient megalin targeted delivery to renal proximal tubular cells mediated by modified-polymyxin B-polyethylenimine based nano-gene-carriers. Materials Science and Engineering: C, 79, 770-782.

Koch K.S., Moran, T., Shier W.T., Leffert H.L. (2018) N-acetyl-2-aminofluorene (AAF) processing in adult rat hepatocytes in primary culture occurs by high-affinity low-velocity and low-affinity high-velocity AAF metabolite-forming systems. Toxicological Sciences, 163, 26-35.

Koch K.S., Moran, T., Shier W.T., Leffert H.L. (2018) High-affinity low-capacity and low-affinity high-capacity N-acetyl-2-aminofluorene (AAF) macromolecular binding sites are revealed during the growth cycle of adult rat hepatocytes in primary culture.Toxicological Sciences, 163, 36-44.

Accinelli C., Abbas H.K., Shier W.T. (2018) A bioplastic-based seed coating improves seedling growth and reduces coated seed dust generation. Journal of Crop Improvement, 32, 318-330.

Accinelli C., Abbas H.K., Little N.S., Kotowicz J.K., Shier W.T. (2018) Biological control of aflatoxin production in corn using non-aflatoxigenic Aspergillus flavus administered as a bioplastic-based seed coating.Crop Protection, 107, 87-92.

Bellaloui N., Abbas H.K., Ebelhar M.W., Mengistu A., Mulvaney M.J., Accinelli C., Shier W.T. (2018) Effect of increased nitrogen application rates and environment on protein, oil, fatty acids, and minerals in sesame (Sesamum indicum) seed grown under Mississippi Delta conditions. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 9, 1112-1135.

Okunowo W.O., Osuntoki A.A., Adekunle A.A., Gbenle G.O., Abbas H.K., Shier W.T. (2019) Optimization of Myrothecium roridum Tode: Fries phytotoxin production and bioactivity on water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). Toxin Reviews, in press.

Abbas H.K., Ebelhar M.W., Bellaloui N., Mulvaney M.J., Stoner G.R.D., Kotowicz J.K., Little N.S., Accinelli C., Shier W.T. (2019) Contamination of sesame seed grown in Mississippi with aflatoxin, fumonisin, and mycotoxin-producing fungi. World Mycotoxin Journal, in press.