The Fast Lab

Lab ImagesWelcome to the Fast Lab.  We are guided by a broad curiosity about how enzymes work and how we can manipulate their functions. We study the chemistry behind how these proteins accelerate chemical reactions that are important for biological processes and use this information to develop small molecules to regulate the enzyme’s function, to design variant enzymes with altered functions or properties, or to design chemical probes to study the activity of enzymes within living cells.  Inhibitors that rely on covalent bond formation as part of their mechanism are of particular interest.  We choose to study enzymes that are suitable targets for new drugs, so our work  serves as an early step in the development of novel therapeutics.  My teaching involves undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and professional pharmacy students in class and in the laboratory.  Our current research projects are in the areas of infectious disease, cancer, and cardiovascular / pulmonary health.


 Lab News:


April 2020:  Kudos to Allie, Pei, Toby and others for their new paper on iminodiacetic acid inhibitors of NDM!

April 2020:  Congrats to Alex for winning 1st place poster abstract award for this year’s (virtual) College of Pharmacy Research Excellence Day!

March 2020:  Congrats to the Crowder Lab for their launch of with accompanying paper.

February 2020: Check out our Hornraiser and consider supporting the Virtual Cures Stream for freshman research!


August 2019:  Our JBC paper on NDM clinical variants was selected for inclusion in a  virtual issue on antibiotics – Great work team!

July 2019Farewell Alfred!   Congrats and best wishes for your new job at Rose-Hulman!

June 2019:  Pei’s paper with Rex is out – Congrats!  Apparently, serine- and metallo-beta-lactamases have something in common after all.

May 2019:  Walt and Alfred catch up w/ colleagues at the 2019 Texas Chemical Biology conference – can you find us?

March 2019:  Congrats to Guy for winning an Undergraduate Research Fellowship!  (5th in a row for our lab – keep the streak going!)


November 2018:  Congrats to Nasa for winning an Undergraduate Research Fellowship!

November 2018:  Welcome To Alex!  A new postdoctoral scholar from the Vederas lab.  Our recruitment lunch must have worked!

September 2018:  Congrats to Valerie on successful completion of her M.S. defense for Univ. Bordeaux & Mohammed V Univ.!

August 2018:  Alfred’s covalent inhibitor review hits 1000+ Article Views in ~ 4 months – Way to Go!

August 2018:  Our  NDM evolution paper was chosen as a J. Biol. Chem. Editors’ Pick – Top annual 2% for significance and importance – Check out Pei’s bio!

July 2018:  Our paper on the evolution of NDM was recommended by F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field.

July 2018: Our paper on dissecting a covalent inhibitor gets published – Kudos Gayle, Joyce, Art & Alfred!

June 2018:  Our team publishes on how NDM is evolving in the clinic to overcome zinc scarcity.

June 2018:  Thanks to the Melanoma Research Foundation for the Cure Ocular Melanoma pilot grant!

May 2018:  Corey (Postdoc Alumnus) earns tenure at Samford University.  Congratulations!  Well deserved!

April 2018:  The Taxonomy of Covalent Inhibitors comes out – thanks Alfred – Kudos!  We’ve been blogged and tweeted!

April 2018:  Congrats to Lin-Cheng in the Crowder lab for his review in TIPSMechanism Matters!

February 2018:  Congrats to Sean for his Outstanding Presentation Award in Medicinal Chemistry from the GCURS!


November 2017:  Everett (PhD Alumnus) is named the 2017 UT Emerging Inventor of the Year.  Kudos!

November 2017:  Our team publishes on the mechanism of AMA inhibiting metallo-beta-lactamases.

October 2017:  Alesha’s work on NDM-1 overcoming zinc scarcity is published and tweeted!

August 2017:  Our team publishes a new NDM-1 inhibitor that works with clinical isolates.

July 2017:  Best wishes to Alesha as she moves on to an APHL-CDC Postdoctoral Fellowship on Antimicrobial Resistance

July 2017:  Best wishes to Ken (PhD Alumnus) as he moves on to AbbVie!

May 2017:  Chris’s work on covalent protein modification by 4-halopyridines is published.

May 2017: Wishing Jake farewell at an Austin landmark as he heads to Yale Chemistry for grad school.  We knew him when!

March 2017: Congrats to Alesha Stewart for her successful PhD defense!  Kudos!

March 2017: Say Hi to the 2017 Library of Virtual Drug Screeners in the Freshman Research Initiative.

February 2017: Ken’s circular permutation to trap PvdQ substrate is published – check out his bio!


November 2016:  Congrats to Chris Schardon for his successful PhD defense.  Huzzah!

September 2016:  Walt deletes “Associate” from his business card.

August 2016:  Kudos to Ken Clevenger (PhD alumnus) for his funded F32: Functional proteoform-analysis of the glioma oncogene idh1

June 2016:  Congrats to Oscar Villarreal for acceptance to the UT Houston/MD Anderson MD/PhD Program!

April 2016:  Congrats to Gayle Burstein-Teitelbaum on her new position at the Wistar Institute!

April 2016:  Congrats to Jake Swartzel for winning an Undergraduate Research Fellowship.  Well deserved!

March 2016: Walt and his fellow ARFPers visit NIH  and the National Academy of Sciences.


November 2015:  Walt joins the AACP-Academic Research Fellows Program.

June 2015:  Congrats to Oscar Villarreal for becoming a Beckman Scholar!

May 2015:  Congrats to Joyce Er for her successful PhD defense.  Yay Dr. Joyce!

May 2015:  Walt starts as a PI for the Freshman Research Initiative, working with Josh Beckham (Res. Educator) on Virtual Drug Screening

April 2015:  Congrats to Alesha Stewart for her fellowship from the American Association of University Women (Austin Branch)

April 2015:  Our MBL grant got funded.  Thanks to all involved!  Mentions in UTexas News, Austin Business Journal

February 2015:  A dubious honor from Environmental Health and Safety

2014 & Prior

November 2014:  Kudos to Pei and Michael (in the Brodbelt lab) for making the inside cover of ChemBioChem

August 2014:  Congrats to Ken as he starts his new postdoc at Northwestern with Neil Kelleher

June 2014:  Congrats to Gayle as she starts her new position as a Technology Licensing Specialist at UT, Austin

September 2012:  Tom’s fragment paper:  We’ve been blogged!

Spring 2011:  Download the Longhorn Pharmacy Focus article on some of our 3D molecular visualization efforts.

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