The Kelleher Group website has moved to:


Neil L. Kelleher

Professor in Molecular Biosciences, Chemistry and the Feinberg School of Medicine

3613 Silverman Hall


Pushing the Limits with Precision Proteomics


The Kelleher Group has three primary lines of research focused on Top Down Proteomics, Natural Products Discovery and Biosynthesis and Chromatin Oncobiology and DNA-Damage.  An underlying focus, driving all lines of research, is our continued push towards optimizing instrumentation and bioinformatic approaches to best suit the unique needs of a Top Down analysis. 

The main focus for our Top Down Proteomics subgroup is to push the limits for whole proteome analysis of mammalian cells, striving for a future in which Top Down analysis rivals that of Bottom Up in the number of protein identifications per run.  Recently we have seen progress towards this very goal with the introduction of a separation platform specifically designed to minimize the most common problem in Top Down Proteomics, intact protein separations.  This platform effectively reduces sample complexity and separates proteins depending on size, resulting in an opportunity for the researcher to select the optimal analysis method for the sample.

Our Natural Products subgroup is focused on the discovery and biosynthesis of novel natural products.  Developments from this subgroup include the introduction of the PrISM platform, geared towards the identification of natural products synthesized by nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) and polyketide synthases (PKSs) without prior knowledge of a gene sequence.  This is made possible by our ability to detect a phosphopantetheinyl (Ppant) ejection marker ion for NRPS/PKS thiolation domains.  We also work in collaboration with groups from other universities to provide mass spectrometry analysis of novel biochemical systems.

We also have a long-standing interest in histone analysis.  Our Chromatin Oncobiology and DNA-Damage subgroup continues to dig deeper into the "histone code", a complex mixture of post-translational modifications that together determine a host of cellular processes.  We are interested in visualizing dynamic histone PTM changes simultaneously on multiple sites.  Through application of technology developed in our Top Down Proteomics subgroup, we are able to apply "Precision Proteomics" to histone analysis.


Kelleher Group - In the News 

  • October 30, 2011 marks the culmination of over 10 years worth of work in development of the Top Down method of proteomics with the publication of “Mapping Intact Protein Isoforms in Discovery Mode Using Top-Down Proteomics” in the journal Nature.  Congratulations and thank you to all who have been a part of the Top Down team over the years.  It is because of all your hard work that this milestone has been achieved. Read more in an article in the Northwestern News Center.
  • On May 16, 2011 the Proteomics Center of Excellence celebrated it's grand opening.  Prof. Kelleher also serves as the Director of the Center whose mission is twofold: 1) To focus on the qualitative and quantitative detection of as many proteins as possible from cells and tissues utilizing known technologies "Bottom Up" while at the same time emphasizing 'precision proteomics' and 2) To develop next-generation technology for performing proteomics using intact proteins "Top Down".

Kelleher Group Announcements

  • Congratulations to Dr. Steve Sweet, who just accepted a position at the University of Sussex funded by the Medical Research Council.


Departmental Seminars

Click on the link to each department for more details on specific seminars for the month

Molecular Biosciences

  • Seminar: Thursday @ 12:30 pm in Pancoe Auditorium


  • Organic student seminar: Tuesday @ 11 am in Ryan 4003
  • Inorganic student seminar: Friday @ 1 pm in Tech K140
  • Organic invited speaker seminar: Thursday @ 4:30 pm in Tech L211
  • Inorganic invited speaker seminar: Friday @ 4 pm in Tech K140
  • Physical invited speaker seminar: Wednesday @ 4 pm in Ryan 4003

Lurie Cancer Center

  • Tumor Cell Biology Seminars: Lurie Research Center, Baldwin Auditorium, Thursday @ 1:15 pm
  • Grand Rounds: Lurie Research Center, Gray Conference Room, Friday @ 8 am
  • Pamela Katten Memorial Foundation Lectureship: Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Pritzker Auditorium, November 18 @ 4 pm
  • Special Seminar: Cancer, Chemotherapy Resistance and Cancer Stem Cells: Lurie Research Center, Baldwin Auditorium, November 23 @ 2 pm
  • PSOC Inaugural Symposium: The Coding, Decoding, Transfer and Translation of Information in Cancer: Allen Center, November 30 from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm