Olaf Wiest

Olaf Wiest

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Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office: 278 Stepan Chemistry
Phone: 574-631-5876
Email: Wiest.1@nd.edu

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Areas of Expertise

  • Bioorganic Chemistry
  • Sun-damaged DNA
  • Computational and Physical Organic Chemistry
  • Computational Drug Design
  • Biophysical Chemistry
  • Enzyme Mechanisms
  • Transition Metal Catalyzed Reactions
  • Design of Ligands for Enantioselective Catalysis

Wiest studies the reaction mechanism in organic and bioorganic chemistry, and in particular, electron transfer induced reactions. Among the systems he is currently studying are the cycloreversion of the thymine dimmer, which is part of the skin cancer protection mechanism in many organisms. Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the United States, with an estimated 1.3 million cases diagnosed annually. Wiest and his research team have synthesized an artificial enzyme they believe can repair sun-damaged DNA, the cause of many skin cancers. The enzyme attaches itself to thymine dimmers and breaks them down, repairing the DNA damaged by ultraviolet light before cancer develops. His research group also is studying new approaches to the detection and treatment of prostate and breast cancer using structure and ligand based computer-aided molecular design.


NPC researchers gather at Notre Dame to discuss progress at annual conference

Researchers collaborate to seek FDA approval for drug treatment for rare disease

Ten Notre Dame faculty members named AAAS fellows

Breakthrough in Niemann-Pick Type C research reported by Notre Dame and Cornell scientists

Controlling gene expression to halt cancer growth


Skin Cancer Prevention