Benjamin M. Brandsen

Benjamin M. Brandsen

Graduate Student in Chemistry
(November 2010-January 2016)

B.S. Biochemistry, Calvin College, 2010
Ph.D. Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015


Current position: Postdoctoral fellow with Stanley Fields, Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA



Brief Biography

Ben Brandsen received his B.S. degree in biochemistry from Calvin College in 2010. In Fall 2010 he joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he began working under the supervision of Prof. Scott K. Silverman on studies to understand DNA catalysis. He earned his Ph.D. degree in December 2015, and in January 2016 he moved to the University of Washington for postdoctoral research with Stanley Fields in the Department of Genome Sciences.

Research Interests

My research in the Silverman lab sought to understand the extent to which DNA can catalyze cleavage of ester and amide (peptide) bonds. I synthesized various ester-linked and amide-linked substrates and performed in vitro selection experiments to assess the ability of DNA to cleave these linkages. I also identified deoxyribozymes that catalyze hydroxyl glycosylation and amine acylation reactions.

  • "DNA-Catalyzed DNA Cleavage by a Radical Pathway with Well-Defined Products", Y. Lee, P. C. Klauser, B. M. Brandsen, C. Zhou, X. Li, and S. K. Silverman,
    J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 255-261. [pdf] [PubMed entry]

  • "DNA-Catalyzed Glycosylation Using Aryl Glycoside Donors", A. R. Hesser, B. M. Brandsen, S. M. Walsh, P. Wang, and S. K. Silverman, Chem. Commun. 2016,
    52, 9259-9262. [pdf] [Supp Info] [PubMed entry] [Correction]

  • "DNA-Catalyzed Amide Hydrolysis", C. Zhou, J. L. Avins, P. C. Klauser, B. M. Brandsen, Y. Lee, and S. K. Silverman, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 2106-2109. [pdf] [Supp Info] [PubMed entry]

  • "DNA-Catalyzed Lysine Side Chain Modification", B. M. Brandsen, T. E. Velez, A. Sachdeva, N. A. Ibrahim, and S. K. Silverman, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2014, 53, 9045-9050. [pdf] [Supp Info] [PubMed entry]

  • "DNA-Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Esters and Aromatic Amides", B. M. Brandsen, A. R. Hesser, M. A. Castner, M. Chandra, and S. K. Silverman, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 16014-16017. [pdf] [Supp Info] [PubMed entry]