Xiaohua Peng

Photo of Xiaohua Peng

Organic Chemistry
Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Osnabrueck
(414) 229-5221
e-mail: pengx@uwm.edu
Selected Publications


My research is interdisciplinary, focusing on nucleic acid chemistry and its applications in other fields including drug discovery, DNA diagnostics, and nanotechnology. A common thread in my research is in understanding the chemical reactivity and function of DNA. As the carrier of genetic information, understanding the chemistry of DNA is extremely important. Our group investigate the structural basis for carcinogenic and anticancer activity of DNA- and protein-modifying agents. Synthetic methodologies are developed to prepare structurally modified nucleosides and amino acids as potential antitumor, antiviral, and/or anticancer agents. We will use the tools of synthetic and physical organic chemistry, as well as biochemistry, and molecular biology for the mechanistic studies of their biological processes.

Our studies on nucleic acids are divided into the following principal areas.

  • The chemistry of DNA damage with exogenous and endogenous carcinogens
  • DNA-DNA and DNA-protein cross-linking by antitumor drugs and bifunctional carcinogens
  • The use of modified nucleosides, nucleotides, and oligonucleotides as potential therapeutic agents
  • Study of drug/nucleic acids interactions
  • DNA/RNA recognition and DNA nanotechnology

My research spans several fields utilizing knowledge and techniques from many areas of science, including organic and bioorganic chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, medicinal chemistry, materials science, and biology.


Students in my group will receive broad training in synthetic organic, bioorganic, analytical and medicinal chemistry. They will learn techniques such as the synthesis, purification, and characterization of organic compounds, DNA and RNA synthesis, DNA foot-printing, ELISA-assay, enzyme methodology, gel electrophoresis, and HPLC purification.

© University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee