Mark E. Welker

Mark E. Welker

Contact Info

Mark Welker

Chemistry Department Chair
William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry

B.S. Chemistry with Highest Honors, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1981);
Ph.D., Florida State University (L.S. Liebeskind) (1985);
Postdoctoral Fellow (Exxon & NIH), University of California-Berkeley (K.P.C. Vollhardt) (1985-86).
Elected a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2008. Dreyfus Foundation Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awardee (1994-99).
Program Officer, Division of Chemistry, Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program, National Science Foundation, 2001-2002 and 2005 (off site).
Associate Provost for Research 2003-2008, Associate Provost for Research and Faculty Affairs 2008-2010, Vice Provost 2010-2011, Interim Provost 2011-2012.

Office: Wake Downtown, Rm. 3811
(336) 702-1953

Window on Wake Forest Research Article
Biographical Sketch

Research Group

Dr. Welker’s Research Group

Welker Lab Group photo

Research Description

Organic Synthesis/Synthetic Methods/Medicinal Chemistry/Molecular Electronics

1) Modification of Naturally Occurring Polysaccharides for Use in Regenerative Medicine (collaborators Aleks Skardal and Emmanuel Opara)

Hyaluronic acid and alginate are naturally occurring polysaccharides which can be chemically modified to change their properties.  The Welker lab has been modifying these polysaccharides by converting their carboxylic acid functional groups into amides.  In the case of alginate, this modification is being performed to alter the acid-base stability of alginate pellets used for drug delivery.  Preliminary work shows that modified alginate is stable to acid environments similar to what one would find in the stomach and that these pellets disintegrate readily in a basic environment similar to what one would find in the small intestine.  The Welker lab is also modifying the chemical structure of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid (HA) with the goal of improving HA’s adhesive properties and its rigidity thereby improving its performance as a wound healing aid.  The Welker lab is also simultaneously synthesizing small molecules which could be used as modular additives to existing HA with hopefully similar improved performance outcomes for patients.

3) High Performance Organic Thin Film Transistors and Molecular Rectifiers (collaborator Oana Jurchescu)

Organic thin film transistors (OTFTs) could enable the development of next generation low cost, flexible electronics but they suffer from inadequate performance and high- power requirements.  We are preparing novel self-assembled monolayer (SAM) dielectrics to simultaneously control film microstructure and induce a high charge density in the device channel.  Some of the small molecules we are preparing also self assemble and function as molecular rectifiers (rectifiers are one way conductors of electric current).  Synthetic organic chemistry reactions are used to prepare small molecules which are then self-assembled and tested on silica surfaces.



(75) Syntheses of 2-Silicon Substituted 1,3-Dienes.  Partha Choudhury, Christopher Junker, Ramakrishna Pidaparthi, and Mark E. Welker, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry,2014754, 88-93;

(74) Recent Syntheses of PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathway InhibitorsMark E. Welker* and George Kulik*, Invited Review article submitted to Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, 21, 4063-4091; 

(73) Metal Catalyzed Tandem Diels-Alder/Hydrolysis Reactions of 2-Boron-Substituted 1,3-Dienes.  Liqiong Wang and Mark E. Welker, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 2013, 723, 15-18;

(72) Preparation and Diels-Alder/Cross Coupling Reactions of New 2-Boron-Substituted 1,3 –Dienes.  Liqiong Wang and Mark E. Welker, Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2012, 77, 8280-8286;                                                                                          

(71) Synthesis and Characterization of a Novel Cancer-Targeted PI3 Kinase Inhibitor Prodrug.  Daniele Biaz, Tanya A. Pinder, Sazzad Hassan, Yelena Karpova, Freddie Salsbury, Mark E. Welker, and George Kulik.  Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, 2012, 55, 8038-8046;  Selected as the cover paper for the November 26, 2012 issue of J. Med. Chem.;

(70) Ruthenium Carbenes as Multi-Task Catalysts in Stereoselective Ene-Yne Metathesis/Diels-Alder and Ene-Yne Metathesis/Diels-Alder/Cross Coupling Multicomponent Reactions.  Christopher S. Junker and Mark E. Welker, Tetrahedron, 2012, 68, 5341-5345,

Awards & Accomplishments

William L. Poteat Professor of Chemistry, 2005-present
Elected AAAS Fellow, 2008