Laura L. Kiessling

Laura L. Kiessling

Fellow: Awarded 2008
Field of Study: Chemistry

Competition: US & Canada

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Laura L. Kiessling is the Hilldale Professor of Chemistry and Laurens Anderson Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After earning a B.S. in chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1983) and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University (1989), Ms. Kiessling spent two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral Fellow before joining the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In addition to her current positions in the departments of chemistry and biochemistry, she is also the director of both the Keck Center for Chemical Genomics and the NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program.

The author or coauthor of over one hundred peer-reviewed journal articles and co-holder of nine patents for various scientific breakthroughs, Laura Kiessling clearly stands out as a biochemist of extraordinary ability, especially in the field of carbohydrate chemistry research. In just the first ten years of her career, she garnered a NSF National Young Investigator Award, Zeneca Excellence in Chemistry Award, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, American Chemical Society (ACS) Arthur C. Cope Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and was selected as one of the fifty top research and development “stars to watch” by Industry Week. She has only added to that panoply of honors since then. And her inventiveness, skill, and productivity in her lab are equaled by her marked ability as a lecturer to not only communicate her findings and their importance but to inspire her audience with her enthusiasm for her field. Ms. Kiessling is also the cofounder of Quintessence Biosciences, a company that is working to translate her technological advances into cures for various diseases.

Laura Kiessling is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Member of the American Academy of Microbiology, National Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Academy of the Arts and Sciences. In addition since 2005 she has served as editor–in-chief of ACS Chemical Biology.

During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Ms. Kiessling worked with Robert H. Grubbs at CalTech, in the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, studying chemoselective reactions for biology.


National Academy of Sciences , 2007
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