David Sherman

David Sherman, Ph.D.

Hans W Vahlteich Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology


Prof. Sherman received his B.A. in chemistry at UC Santa Cruz (1978) and Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry at Columbia University with Gilbert Stork (1981). After working at Biogen Research Corporation, he moved to the John Innes Institute as a research scientist with Sir Prof. David A. Hopwood (1987-1990). Following 13 years at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Sherman moved to the University of Michigan in 2003, and is now the Hans W. Vahlteich Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, Professor of Chemistry, and Professor of Microbiology & Immunology. He is also Research Professor in the Life Sciences Institute.

Research Interests

Prof. Sherman's research laboratory pursues the discovery and analysis of diverse natural products and their biosynthetic pathways from bacteria and fungi. Of particular interest is the genetic, biochemical and structural mechanisms involved in polyketide assembly and tailoring to produce complex secondary metabolites with potent activities against a range of targets, including cancer and infectious diseases. Current efforts include the isolation of new marine-derived bacteria and fungi from diverse habitats in Central America, the IndoPacific Region, the eastern Caribbean and the Red Sea. The bulk of the laboratory’s pure culture collection is comprised of sediment derived shallow and deep-water actinomycetes and fungi. More recently, metagenomic and metaproteomic technologies have been employed to identify, assemble and characterize natural product pathways from symbiont microbial consortia. Heterologous expression, synthetic biology and pathway engineering approaches are being developed to express these pathways for the discovery of new natural product anticancer agents.