Dr. Catherine A. Sarisky

Associate Professor of Chemistry, Department Chairperson


  • New College of the University of South Florida
    BA in Chemistry, 1995
  • California Institute of Technology
    Ph. D. in Chemistry, 2005

Current & Recent Courses

  • Chem 111-112 - General Chemistry
  • Chem 221-222 - Organic Chemistry I-II
  • Chem 280 - Communicating Chemistry (Sophomore seminar)
  • Chem 340 - Pharmaceutical Chemistry
  • HNRS 105 - The Freshman Experience (focusing on the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA)
  • HNRS 301 - Medical Evidence

Research Interests

  • Biosynthesis of purines in Archaea. My student collaborators and I are studying how microorganisms called Archaea convert available resources into purines, which are required for DNA and RNA synthesis. A description of my work with students can be found here.


Brown AM, Hoopes SL, White RH, Sarisky CA (2011)  Purine Biosynthesis: Variations on a Theme.  Biology Direct.  6:63.  (Free full text)
Hancock AN, Coleman RS, Johnson RT, Sarisky CA, and Johann TW. (2008). Investigations of the roles of Arginine 115 and Lysine 120 in the Active site of 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase from Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Protein J. 27, 303-308. (Abstract)
Offredi F., Dubail F., Kischel P., Sarisky C. A., Stern A. S., Van de Weerdt C., Hoch J. C., Prosperi C., Francois J. M., Mayo S. L., Martial J. A. (2002). De novo Backbone and Sequence Design of an Idealized beta-barrel Protein: Evidence of Stable Tertiary Structure. J. Mol. Biol. 325, 163-174.
Sarisky C. A. and Mayo S. L. (2001). The ββα fold: Explorations in sequence space. J. Mol. Biol. 307(5), 1411-8.
Ross S., Sarisky C. A., Su A., Mayo S. L. (2000). Designed protein G core variants fold to native-like structures: sequence selection by ORBIT tolerates variation in backbone specification. Protein Sci. 10(2), 450-4.
Hammack B., Attfield K., Clayton D., Dec E., Dong A., Sarisky C., Bowler B. E. (1998). The magnitude of changes in guanidine-HCl unfolding m-values in the protein, iso-1-cytochrome c, depends upon the substructure containing the mutation. Protein Sci. 7, 1789-1795.
Dahiyat B. I., Sarisky C. A., and Mayo S. L. (1997). De novo protein design: Towards fully automated sequence selection. J. Mol. Biol. 273(4), 789-796.

Recent Presentations and Invited talks

  • "A Tale of Two Archaeal IMP Cyclohydrolases"  Gordon Research Conference: Archaea, Waterville Valley, NH, July 2011.
  • "De novo purine biosynthesis in archaea: still more to learn." Gordon Research Conference: Archaea, Waterville Valley, NH, July 2009.
  • "Purine biosynthesis in Archaea: Variations on a Theme." ACS National meeting, New Orleans, April 2008.
  • "Online homework: Lessons Learned." ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, April 2008.
  • "When Chemists do Biology: Tales from the Interface." Virginia Tech Visiting Scholar Seminar Series. November 17, 2005.

Recent Awards & Honors

  • Single Investigator Cottrell College Science Award, 2010
  • Research Grant from the Jeffress Memorial Trust, 2007. Renewed 2009, 2011.
  • Faculty Starter Grant, Roanoke College, 2007
  • Research Grant from The Thomas F. and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust (with T. Johann), 2005

Contact Information

Street address
Chemistry Department,
Roanoke College
221 College Lane
Salem, VA 24153-3794


Trexler 565A
540 375-2438

540 375-2055

Roanoke Acquires New Instrumentation

Roanoke Acquires New Instrumentation

“At Roanoke, first semester freshman use instruments that are available only to seniors or grad students at many other schools,” says Dr. Gail Steehler.

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Upcoming EPIC Events

04/16/15, Noon, C. Sarisky

See EPiC Calendar for more events.