John Charles Chaput

Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Pharmaceutical Sciences

Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 2000, Chemistry

M.S., University of California, Riverside, 1995, Chemistry

B.S., Creighton University, 1994, Chemistry


University of California, Irvine

Irvine, CA 92697

picture of John Charles Chaput

Chemical and Synthetic Biology
URL Lab Website
ASU Faculty Award for Excellence in Defining Edge Research (2014)
Arizona Technology Enterprise Achievement Award (2013 – 2014)
National Institutes of Health EUREKA Award (2008-2012)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship (2001 – 2004)
University of California, Riverside, Graduate Fellowship (1994 – 2000)
National Collegiate Science Award (1994)
Appointments HHMI Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School (2000-2004) with Jack Szostak
Students in the Chaput laboratory are working to develop artificial polymers that mimic the functional properties of natural biopolymers.

This is an interdisciplinary research program where chemists, biochemists, molecular biologists and structural biologists work together to synthesize molecules that are not currently available, develop systems to make these molecules evolve in the laboratory, and determine the structural properties of laboratory evolved molecules with atomic-level resolution.

The laboratory has two main research topics. This first is to generate artificial genetic polymers that can replicate in vitro and eventually in model cellular organisms. The second topic is to harness the power of Darwinian evolution to generate novel protein folds with desired functional properties.

The long-term goal of this research is to develop synthetic biology tools that can improve human health and disease through early detection or therapeutic intervention. However, the nature of our research also provides insight into questions related to life’s origin and the evolutionary path that gave rise to life on Earth.
Publications A complete list of publications can be found at:

Selected Publications:

1. Wellensiek, B.P., Larsen, A., Stephens, B., Kukurba, K., Waern, K., Briones, N., Liu, L., Snyder, M., Jacobs, B.L., Kumar, S., and Chaput, J.C.* 2013. Genome-wide profiling of human cap-independent translation enhancing elements. Nature Methods, 10, 747-750.

2. Pinheiro, V.B., Taylor, A.I., Cozens, C., Abramov, M., Renders, M., Zhang. S., Chaput, J.C., Wengel, J., Peak-Chew, S-Y., McLaughlin, S.H., Herdewijn, P., and Holliger, P.* 2012. Synthetic genetic polymers capable of heredity and evolution. Science 336, 341-344.

3. Yu, H., Zhang, S., and Chaput, J.C.* 2012. Darwinian evolution of an alternative genetic system provides support for TNA as an RNA progenitor. Nature Chemistry 4, 183-187.

4. Chaput, J.C.*, Hanyang, Y., and Zhang, S. 2012. The emerging world of synthetic genetics. Chem. & Biol. 19, 1360-1371.
Other Experience
Arizona State University 2014—2015

Associate Professor
Arizona State University 2011—2014

Assistant Professor
Arizona State University 2005—2011

Link to this profile
Last updated 04/22/2016