School of Pharmacy

William Atkins

Chair; Sid Nelson Endowed Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

Atkins Lab, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Medicinal Chemistry Faculty

Telephone: (206) 685-0379


Website: Atkins Lab


  • BS in Chemistry, The College of William and Mary
  • MA in Pharmacology, Harvard University
  • PhD in Biochemistry, The University of Illinois
  • Postdoctoral Studies in Protein Dynamics, Penn State University

Research Interests

  • Structure-function mechanism of glutathione S-transferases and cytochrome P450
  • Protein engineering of supramolecular aggregates


Dr. Atkins is a biophysical enzymologist with two primary areas of interest. One area of research focus includes mechanisms of detoxication enzymes and transporters, which play critical roles in drug metabolism, drug-drug interactions, and interindividual responses to drugs. These enzymes are a fascinating variation on “traditional” enzymes because they have no defined substrates but instead have evolved to recognize a broad range of structurally diverse substrates. Atkins utilizes a combination of spectroscopic methods, mass spectrometry, chemical synthesis, computational methods, and molecular biology techniques to study the structure-function relationships of these enzymes, including Cytochrome P450s (CYPs), glutathione s-transferases (GSTs), and P-glycoprotein (P-gp).

The second area of interest includes therapeutic proteins, such as those used to treat various cancers and autoimmune diseases. The Atkins lab has recently moved into this research field and studies biophysical properties of antibody-drug conjugates and fusion proteins to understand the factors that determine their stability in serum and their interactions with their targets. Taken together, the research projects in the Atkins lab aim to improve the utility of small molecule drugs or biologics.

This research prepares students and postdoctoral scientists for careers in the pharmaceutical industry, the biotechnology sector and academia.

Recent Publications