Luke Erber

Luke Erber
  • Assistant Professor
  • Department of Medicinal Chemistry

Contact Info

Gray-Little Hall, Room 3191
1567 Irving Hill Rd
Lawrence, KS 66044


Postdoctoral Fellow, IRACDA Program, University of Minnesota, 2023, Minneapolis, MN
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Minnesota, 2020, Minneapolis, MN
Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, University of Minnesota, 2019, Minneapolis, MN
B.S. in Chemistry and Biology, Concordia University, 2011, Chicago, IL


The Erber laboratory is focused on:

  • Developing chemical tools to expand the repertoire of chemical probes to characterize and modulate native protein-protein interactions
  • Characterizing and modulating DNA-protein interactions by small molecules

The temporally specific and tissue specific expression of genotypes to phenotypes is a tightly regulated at the chromatin by epigenetic activity. Epigenetic reader proteins are central regulators of the transmission of genetic information. Yet the regulation of epigenetic reader protein activity through protein-protein interactions, post-translational modifications and changes in chromatin structure through DNA damage are not completely understood. The Erber research program will interrogate biochemical mechanisms that control the functional activity of epigenetic reader domains in cancer-relevant disease models using biochemical approaches. This is accomplished by using chemical tools to 1) expand the repertoire of chemical probes to study native protein interactions, 2) define chromatin remodeling and repair mechanisms in response to DNA damage. Chemical biology and quantitative mass spectrometry approaches will be applied to generate functional predictions about chromatin and epigenetic regulation and validated using biochemistry and cell-based experiments. Characterization of cellular molecular interactions will serve to improve our fundamental understanding macromolecular recognition events, cancer development and serve as the basis for generating synthetic chemical probes, to modulate epigenetic activity driving development and progression of disease.

Selected Publications


  1. Erber, L., and Chen, Y., Eds. (2021) Functional Proteomics. American Chemical Society. DOI: 10.1021/acsinfocus.7e5010

Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Hurben, A.*, Erber, L*. A Developing Role for Artificial Intelligence in Drug Discovery in Drug Design, Development and Safety. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 35 (11), 1925-1928 (2022). *equal contribution
  2. Gong, Y., Behera, G., Erber, L., Chen, Y. Functional Annotation and Data-Independent Quantification of Proline Hydroxylation Proteome. PLOS Biology, 20 (8), e3001757 (2022).
  3. Erber, L., Gong, Y., Phu, T., Chen, Y. Quantitative Proteome and Transcriptome Dynamics Analysis Reveals Iron Deficiency Response Networks and Signature in Neuronal Cells. Molecules, 27 (2), 484 (2022).
  4. Pujari, S., Wu, M., Thomforde, J., Wang, Z., Chao, C., Olson, N., Erber, L., Pomerantz, W., Cole, P., Tretyakova, N. Site-Specific 5-Formyl Cytosine Mediated DNA-Histone Cross-Links: Synthesis and Polymerase Bypass by Human DNA Polymerase η. Angewandte Chimie, 60(51):26489-26494 (2021).
  5. Hurben, A., Erber, L., Tretyakova, N., Doran, T. Proteome-wide Profiling of Cellular Targets Modified by Dopamine Metabolites via a Bio-orthogonal Functionalized Probe. ACS Chemical Biology, 16 (11), 2581-2594 (2021).
  6. Erber, L., Goodman, S., Jopikii Krueger, C., Rusyn, I., Tretyakova, N. Quantitative NanoLC/NSI+ -HRMS method for 1,3-butadiene induced bis-N7-guanine DNA-DNA crosslink adducts in urine. Toxics, 9 (10), 247 (2021).
  7. Erber, L., Luo, A., Gong, Y., Beeson, M., Tu, M., Tran, P., Chen, Y. Iron Deficiency Reprograms Phosphorylation Signaling and Reduces O-GlcNAc Pathways in Neuronal Cells. Nutrients, 13 (1), 179 (2021).
  8. Boysen, G., Degner, A., Arora, R., Vevang, K., Erber, L., Tretyakova, N., Peterson, L. Effect of GSTT1 Genotype on Detoxification of 1,3-Butadiene Derived Diepoxide and Formation of Promutagenic DNA Crosslinking in Human Hapmap Cell Lines. Chemical Research in Toxicology, 34 (1), 119-131 (2021).
  9. Smestad, J., Erber, L., Chen, Y., Maher, L. Chromatin succinylation correlates with active gene expression and is perturbed by defective TCA cycle metabolism. iScience, 2, 63-75 (2018).
  10. Zhao, F., Wang, X., Erber, L., Luo, M., Guo, A., Yang, S., Gu, J., Turman, R., Gao, Y., Li, D., Gui, Z., Zhang, Z., Bi, L., Baughn, A., Zhang, X., Deng, J. Binding pocket alterations in dihydrofolate synthase confer resistance to para-aminosalicylic acid in clinical isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 58 (3) 1479-1487 (2014).

Awards & Honors

  • Presidential Honors Scholarship, Concordia University Chicago, 2007
  • NIH Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award, 2020