CBITG Directors and Steering Committee


Erin E. Carlson (she/her) started her independent career as faculty at Indiana University in 2008. In the summer of 2014, she joined the faculty in the Chemistry Department at the University of Minnesota. She is also appointed as a Graduate Faculty member of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics, the graduate program in Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology, and the graduate program in Pharmacology. In 2021, Dr. Carlson was promoted to the endowed position of Smith Professor of Chemistry. She has served as the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee, the steering committee for the CBITG grant and on multiple campus-wide panels related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Outside the University, Carlson has served on review panels for the NIH (standing SBCB) and NSF, has been involved with organizing national meetings, and guest edited for multiple journals. She has held a nationally elected office in the American Chemical Society. 

The Carlson Group applies the diverse tools of chemical biology to understand how bacteria harness their limited genome to inhabit nearly every ecological niche on our planet. These “simple” single-celled organisms are remarkable in their ability to respond to and survive in the presence of diverse environmental stressors. To date, Carlson has published >80 papers, evidencing her use of rigorous and reproducible methods in experimental design, data collection, analysis and reporting. She has mentored 27 graduate students (9 M.S. degrees awarded, 11 Ph.D. degrees awarded, and 9 current students), 12 postdoctoral fellows, and 26 undergraduate students. Carlson received the Outstanding Postdoctoral Mentor Award from the UMN Postdoctoral Association for her skill as a mentor. Carlson is deeply committed to increasing diversity in the biomedical sciences as evidenced by her active work in this area. Given Professor Carlson’s extensive experience in mentoring graduate trainees, her broad research interests, and extensive service to the scientific community, she is well qualified to oversee this training program.

William Pomerantz (he/him) received his B.S. in chemistry from Ithaca College in 2002, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship at ETH, Zürich with Professors François Diederich and Jack Dunitz. He obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry under Professors Sam Gellman and Nick Abbott at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was a postdoctoral fellow under Prof. Anna Mapp at the University of Michigan. He joined the chemistry faculty at the University of Minnesota in 2012, received tenure in 2018, and was promoted to full professor in 2023. He also holds graduate appointments in departments of MCHEM, BMBB, and Pharmacology. His research focuses on the development of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry approaches for modulating protein-protein interactions involved in transcriptional complexes, most notably those involved in promoting cancer and inflammatory disease. Protein-Observed Fluorine NMR (PrOF NMR) is one such tool in his lab that is being developed as a new method for fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD). PrOF NMR has been applied towards inhibitor and chemical probe development for a diverse class of epigenetic protein complexes, as well for the characterization of large macromolecular complexes, including those involving large protein-protein interactions, nucleic acids, and intrinsically disordered proteins. This research includes research in the fields of chemistry, medicinal chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics and is thus well-aligned with this training grant. Prof. Pomerantz’s research and teaching have been recognized through a Sidney Kimmel Cancer Scholar award, an NSF CAREER award, a Cottrell Scholar Award, an ICBS Rising Star in Chemical Biology award, and a George W. Taylor Distinguished Teaching award. Regarding leadership, Prof. Pomerantz is currently the global council co-chair for the International Chemical Biology Society, Vice-chair for the Early Career Board Member for ACS Med. Chem. Lett, councilor for the American Chemical Society,  standing member of the NIH Chemical Biology and Probes study section, and has served as a PI or co-PI on several large R01-level grants. He has also participated in the academic leader training (ALT) program from the ACS Prof. Pomerantz has graduated 12 PhD students, and mentored 31 undergraduates, co-authoring with 13 of them. He currently mentors 13 graduate students, 3 postdocs, and 2 undergraduates with diverse demographics with four students that are pacific islanders, black, or have a disability. Prof. Pomerantz has taken part in several mentoring programs for postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. For five years, he has served as a mentor for the ACS Postdoc to Faculty workshop. He has also taken the online course to effective mentoring “Optimizing the practice of mentoring 101” provided by UMN. He currently mentors two junior faculty also on this CBITG. In support of his commitment to supporting a diverse workforce, he serves on the MN Local ACS section’s antiracism group and is part of a diversity equity and inclusion group for the ACS’s membership affairs committee, and continues to participate in education programs on topics of inclusion, microaggression, and antiracism.

Steering Committee

Daniel Harki

Medicinal Chemistry

Mark Distefano

Chemistry, ex officio

Valerie Pierre


Buckhard Seelig

Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics