Chris Schafmeister 


Associate Professor

B.S. (1990) Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Ph.D. (1997) University of California, San Francisco

SERC 620


Department of Chemistry

Beury Hall 130
1901 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122

office: 215-204-7128
fax: 215-204-1532




Biological / Inorganic / Materials / Nanoscience / Organic

Research Interests

Research projects within my group will use the tools of synthetic chemistry, molecular biology, and X-ray crystallography to answer important scientific questions.

A universal molecular scaffold. The development of a universal molecular scaffold that would allow the systematic design, construction, and investigation of macromolecules that display chemical functionality in three-dimensional space is a primary goal of my group. A scaffold like this will allow the design and synthesis of new catalysts, molecular sensors, and ultimately molecular machines. My group use synthetic chemistry to synthesize molecular building blocks that we will couple to each other through pairs of bonds to construct rigid macromolecules with diverse and programmable shapes. We have developed computer software that allows the computer aided design of these molecules to carry out specific functions.

For more details and images see our research page.


2004-2009 NSF CAREER Award

2004 Cottrell Scholar Award

2000-2005 Camille and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty Award

2000-2002 Research Corporation, Research Innovation Award

1998-2000 Jane Coffin Childs post-doctoral fellow

1993-1998 Howard Hughes Medical Foundation pre-doctoral fellow


Selected Publications

"Spiroligozymes for Transesterifications: Design and Relationship of Structure to Activity," Kheirabadi, M.; Celebi-Oelcuem, N.; Parker, M.F.L.; Zhao, Q.Q.; Kiss, G.; Houk, K.N.; Schafmeister, C.E., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012, 134(44): 18345-18353


"A Spiroligomer alpha-Helix Mimic That Binds HDM2, Penetrates Human Cells and Stabilizes HDM2 in Cell Culture," Brown, Z.Z.; Akula, K.; Arzumanyan, A.; Alleva, J.; Jackson, M.; Bichenkov, E.; Sheffield, J.B.; Feitelson, MA.; Schafmeister, C.E., Plos One, 2012, 7(10): e45948


"Hydrophobic Substituent Effects on Proline Catalysis of Aldol Reactions in Water," Zhao, Q.Q.; Lam, Y.H.; Kheirabadi, M.; Xu, CS.; Houk, KN.; Schafmeister, C.E., Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2012, 77(10): 4784-4792


"Solid-Phase Synthesis of Functionalized Bis-Peptides," Brown, Z.Z.; Alleva, J.; Schafmeister, C.E., Biopolymers, 2012, 96(5): 578-585


"Synthesis of Hexa- and Pentasubstituted Diketopiperazines from Sterically Hindered Amino Acids," Brown, Z.Z.; Schafmeister, C.E., Organic Letters, 2010, 12(7): 1436-1439


"Synthesis of a Carboxylate Functionalized Bis-Amino Acid Monomer," Gupta, S.; Schafmeister, C.E., Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2009, 74(10): 3652-3658


"Experimental Evidence for Water Mediated Electron Transfer Through Bis-Amino Acid Donor-Bridge-Acceptor Oligomers," Chakrabarti, S.; Parker, M.F.L.; Schafmeister, C.E., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2009, 131(6): 2044


"Shape-Programmable Macromolecules," Schafmeister, C.E.; Brown, Z.Z.; Gupta, S., Accounts of Chemical Research, 2008, 41(10): 1387-1398


"Distance distributions of end-labeled curved bispeptide oligomers by electron spin resonance," Bird, G.H.; Pronsuwan, S.; Saxena, S.; Schafmeister, C.E., ACS Nano, 2008, 2(9): 1857-1864


"Observation of contraction and expansion in a bis(peptide)-based mechanical molecular actuator," Schafmeister, C.E.; Belasco, L.G.; Brown, P. H., Chemistry-A European Journal, 2008, 14(21): 6406-6412


"Analysis of the dynamical flexibility of bis-peptide nanostructures," Pornsuwan, O.; Schafmeister, C.E.; Saxena, S., Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 2008, 112(5): 1377-1384


"Molecular lego," Schafmeister, C. E., Scientific American , 2007, 296(2), 76


"Synthesis of structurally diverse bis-peptide oligomers," Gupta, S.; Macala, M.; Schafmeister, C. E., Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2006, 71(23): 8691-8695


"Maximizing the stereochemical diversity of spiro-ladder oligomers," Levins, C. G.; Brown, Z. Z.; Schafmeister, C. E., Organic Letters, 2006, 8(13): 2807-2810

"Flexibility and lengths of bis-peptide nanostructures by electron spin resonance," Pornsuwan, S.; Bird, G.; Schafmeister, C. E., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2006, 128(12): 3876-3877