Charlie began his studies at the University of Michigan, where he worked with the enzymologist Bruce Palfey during his BSc in Biochemistry. He completed his PhD in 2014 under the joint supervision of Jeff Aubé and Emily E. Scott at the University of Kansas Department of Medicinal Chemistry. His organic chemistry projects there include the development of catalytic variants of the nitrogen-inserting azide/carbonyl Schmidt reaction, useful for accessing various peptidomimetic scaffolds. He also developed a photochemical surface functionalization reaction for carbohydrates during a brief overseas collaboration with Burkhard König at the Universität Regensburg (Germany). His medicinal chemistry work centered on the structure-based design of highly selective inhibitors for cytochrome P450 17A1 in sex steroid-driven tumors (breast and prostate cancers).
He trained as a postdoc in the field of chemical biology with Ben Davis at the University of Oxford. There, Charlie combined high-throughput biocatalytic screening with machine-learning to rationalize and predict sugar-active enzymes and networks in plants. He also developed a mild, visible light photoredox reaction to install various epigenetic marks directly on histones using alkyl radical precursors.
At Wayne State University, Charlie’s research focuses on developing and utilizing highly selective chemical reactions that are able to occur in living cells to track sugar signaling motifs in disease states characterized by altered sugar metabolism (cancer, metabolic disease, neurodegeneration). Students in the Fehl Group will combine bioorthogonal reaction development, chemical biology techniques for protein identification, and bespoke data-mining/informatics strategies to identify critical sugar-responsive epigenetic pathways for therapeutic reprogramming.
As Chair of the WSU Chemistry Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee from 2021-2022, Charlie formally incorporated the DEI Committee into the Department by-laws, set up an Incident Reporting System to support students and researchers experiencing unprofessional or non-inclusive conduct, and worked with students to run many professional development workshops to facilitate DEI conversations and awareness. DEI is an ongoing commitment for Charlie and the Fehl Group to improve equity in STEM communities.
Curriculum Vitae: Charlie_Fehl_CV_Sept22_WSU
Wayne State Chemistry Building, Room 469
charlie.fehl @ wayne.edu