W. Thomas Shier, PhD

Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry
W Thomas Sheir Headshot


Office Phone
Office Address

8-168 Weaver-Densford Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States


Professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry


Doctoral Degree, University of Illinois, 1970

Masters Degree, University of Illinois, 1968

Bachelors Degree, University of Waterloo, 1966

PostDoc, Salk Institute, 1972

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Antibiotics, Mycotoxins, Genome mining, Extremophiles

Awards & Recognition

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

Research Summary

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

1.Accinelli, C.; Abbas, H. K.; Shier, W. T.; Vicari, A.; Little, N. S.; Aloise, M. R.; Giacomini, S. Degradation of microplastic seed film-coating fragments in soil. Chemosphere 2019, 226, 645-650.

2.Koch, K. S.; Moran, T.; Shier, W. T.; Leffert, H. L. 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. Toxicol. Sci. 2018, 163, 26-34.

3.Abbas, H. K.; Accinelli, C.; Shier, W. T. Biological control of aflatoxin contamination in U.S. crops and the use of bioplastic formulations of Aspergillus flavus biocontrol strains to optimize application strategies. J. Agric. Food. Chem. 2017, 65, 7081-7087.

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

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