Sara E. S. Martin

Assistant Professor - Chemistry, BCMB

Office: Williams 193
Phone: 330-263-2306


  • B.S., Lebanon Valley College, 2009
  • Ph.D., University of Delaware,  2014

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 112: General Chemistry II
  • CHEM 211: Organic Chemistry I

Awards and Professional Memberships

  • NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 2014-2018
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • American Chemical Society, Organic and Biological Chemistry Divisions
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NIH NRSA), 2016
  • 3rd Place, 41st Joel L. Silver Award Symposium, University of Delaware, 2014
  • Winning Poster at 13th Annual ACS-Philadelphia Section and Younger Chemists Committee Student Poster Session, Drexel University, Philadelphia, 2013
  • Elizabeth Dyer Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Delaware, 2012


  • Martin, S.E.S.; Tan, Z.-W.; Itkonen, H.M.; Duveau, D.Y.; Paulo, J.A.; Janetzko, J.; Boutz, P.A.; Törk , L.; Moss, F.A.*; Thomas, C.J.; Gygi, S.P.; Lazarus, M.B.; Walker, S., “Structure-based Evolution of Low Nanomolar OGT Inhibitors,” submitted.
  • Matano, L.; Morris, H.; Hesser, A.; Martin, S.E.S.; Lee, W.; Owens, T.; Laney, E.*; Villet, R.; Hooper, D.; Meredith, T.; Walker, S., “An Antibiotic that Inhibits the ATPase Activity of an ABC Transporter by Binding to a Remote Extracellular Site,” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2017, 139, 10597.
  • Itkonen, H.M.; Gorad, S.S.; Duveau, D.Y.; Martin, S.E.S.; Barkovskaya, A.; Bathen, T.F.; Moestue, S.A.; Mills, I.G., “Inhibition of O-GlcNAc transferase activity reprograms prostate cancer cell metabolism.” Oncotarget, 2016, 7, 12464.
  • Pasquina, L.; Santa Maria Jr., J.P.; Wood, B.M.; Moussa, S.; Matano, L.; Santiago, M.; Martin, S.E.S.; Lee, W.; Meredith, T.; Walker, S., “A synthetic lethal approach for compound and target identification in Staphylococcus aureus” Nat. Chem. Biol., 2016, 12, 40.
  • McAtee, J.R.; Martin, S.E.S.; Cinderella, A. P.; Reid, W.B.; Johnson, K.A.*; Watson, D.A. “The First Example of Nickel-Catalyzed Silyl-Heck Reactions: Direct Activation of Silyl Triflates Without Iodide Additives” Tetrahedron, 2014, 70, 4250. Invited article: 2014 Tetrahedron Young Investigator Award Symposium-in-Print.
  • Martin, S.E.S.; Watson D.A. “Silyl-Heck Reactions for the Preparation of Unsaturated Organosilanes” Synlett, 2013, 24, 2177-2182. Invited SynPact article.
  • Martin, S.E.S.; Watson, D.A. “Preparation of Vinyl Silyl Ethers and Disiloxanes via the Silyl-Heck Reaction of Silyl Ditriflates” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2013, 135, 13330-13333.
  • McAtee, J.R.; Martin, S.E.S.; Ahneman, D.T.*; Johnson, K.A.*; Watson, D.A. “Preparation of Allyl and Vinyl Silanes via the Palladium Catalyzed Silylation of Terminal Olefins: A Silyl-Heck Reaction” Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. Engl., 2012, 51, 3663-3666. Highlighted in Chemical and Engineering News.

Research Interests

Research in the Martin lab will leverage techniques at the interface of chemistry and biology to better understand the enzymes that help to build bacterial cell walls. We will use the tools of organic synthesis, biochemistry, and protein crystallography to design inhibitors of specific enzymes known as glycosyltransferases, that transfer sugar groups and that are important in bacterial cell wall biosynthesis. Many antibiotics function by inhibiting bacterial cell wall biosynthesis, but bacteria are developing resistance to these and other antibiotics at increasingly rapid rates. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become a global health crisis that may one day lead to a “post antibiotic era” where existing antibiotics may not be capable of halting even minor infections. New inhibitors will help us to better understand how bacteria build their cell walls and how to halt bacterial growth.