Blake R. Peterson

School of Pharmacy - Medicinal Chemistry
Regents Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
Primary office:
Shankel Structural Biology Center
Room 1045
University of Kansas
2034 Becker Drive
Lawrence, KS 66047


Distinguished Professor Blake Peterson earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Nevada, Reno and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University from 1995-1998, an American Cancer Society Research Scholar in 2003, and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher Scholar in 2003.



The Peterson laboratory in the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at The University of Kansas pursues interdisciplinary research in the fields of bioorganic / medicinal chemistry and chemical biology. We create and study anticancer agents, antiviral agents, molecular probes, tools for target identification, and systems for drug delivery. Expertise includes synthesis of steroids, lipids, nucleosides, peptides, heterocycles, fluorophores, and protein conjugates, and evaluation of these agents in biochemical assays, whole cells, and animal models.

Research Interests

  • Organic synthesis
  • Chemical biology
  • Anticancer agents
  • Drug delivery systems

The Peterson lab focuses on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of biologically active small molecules. Their core science is organic chemistry, and they use modern methods of solution-phase and solid-phase synthesis to prepare modulators of biological pathways and probes of cellular biology. To investigate the activity and potency of these compounds, they employ diverse cellular and biochemical assays, with a particular emphasis on fluorescence-based techniques.

2nd among all schools of pharmacy in National Institutes of Health funding
Brings more than $20 million in external funding into the state each year
7 of 19 cancer drugs formulated through the National Cancer Institute were developed at the KU School of Pharmacy
3,000 free flu shots given to Kansans in need during the past 5 years
4,000 living alumni, 63 percent of them living and working in Kansas
KU pharmacists practice in 95 of Kansas’ 105 counties
20th among public schools of pharmacy.
—U.S. News & World Report
$20.2 million NIH research grant earned by Distinguished Professor Jeff Aubé was 2nd largest in Kansas history
100 percent placement after graduation for KU Pharm.D. students
Established in 1885 as the 1st professional program at KU