Department of Chemistry

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Sheel C. Dodani, PhD

Chemical biology, bioinorganic chemistry, protein engineering, molecular imaging


B.S., University of Texas at Dallas (2007)
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley (2013)
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology (2013–2016)

Research Description

My research program is focused on developing molecular approaches to identify the cellular sources, targets, and physiologies of biologically relevant anions, which have been overlooked, in large part, from the chemical biology/bioinorganic perspective. We aim to not only define the molecular criteria required for aqueous anion detection, a long-standing challenge in molecular recognition, but will also make fundamental contributions to understanding the roles of anions in biological systems with applications in the development of diagnostics and treatment of associated diseases. To achieve these goals, we employ techniques in synthetic chemistry, protein engineering, spectroscopy, molecular and cellular biology, and bioimaging.

Selected Publications

Dodani, S. C.; Kiss, G.; Cahn, J. K. B.; Su, Y.; Pande, V. S.; Arnold, F. H. "Discovery of a regioselectivity switch in the nitrating cytochrome P450 TxtE guided by MD simulations and Markov models." Nat. Chem. 2016, 8, 419–425.

Dodani, S. C.; Firl, A.; Chan, J.; Nam, C. I.; Onak, C.; Feller, M. F.; Chang, C. J. "Copper is an endogenous modulator of neural circuit spontaneous activity." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2014, 111, 16280–16285.

Dodani, S. C.; Cahn, J. K. B.; Heinisch, T.; Brinkmann-Chen, S.; McIntosh, J. A.; Arnold, F. H. "Structural, functional, and spectroscopic characterization of the substrate scope of the novel nitrating cytochrome P450 TxtE." ChemBioChem 2014, 15, 2259–2267.

Chan, J.; Dodani, S. C.; Chang, C. J. "Reaction-based small-molecule fluorescent probes for chemoselective bioimaging." Nat. Chem. 2012, 4, 973–984.

Dodani, S. C.; Leary, S. C.; Cobine, P. A.; Winge, D. R.; Chang, C. J. "A targetable fluorescent sensor reveals that copper-deficient SCO1 and SCO2 patient cells prioritize mitochondrial copper homeostasis." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2011, 133, 8606–8616.

Dodani, S. C.; Domaille, D. W.; Nam, C. I.; Miller, E. W.; Finney, L. A.; Vogt, S.; Chang, C. J. "Calcium-dependent copper redistributions in neuronal cells revealed by a fluorescent copper sensor and X-ray fluorescence microscopy." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2011, 108, 5980–5985.

Dodani, S. C.; He, Q.; Chang, C. J. "A turn-on fluorescent sensor for detecting nickel in living cells." J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2009, 131, 18020–18021.


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