Charlie Fehl

Charlie Fehl

Assistant Professor


313-577-8822 (fax)

Chem 469

Curriculum vitae


Social media



Charlie Fehl

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

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


Dr. Charlie Fehl is a synthetic chemical biologist. His training--spanning the Atlantic ocean at times (University of Michigan / University of Kansas / Universität Regensburg (Germany)/Oxford University (United Kingdom)) – focused on chemical techniques in catalyst design, photochemistry and biocatalysis. These were applied to solve problems in drug design, protein synthesis + modification, epigenetic protein-protein interactions, and understanding complex enzymatic networks. Researchers in the Fehl Lab develop selective chemical and biochemical tools to unravel and treat complex problems in disease biology.


  • B.S., University of Michigan, 2009
  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, 2014
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Oxford, UK, 2014-2018

Awards and grants

  • University Research Grant (WSU, 2019-2020)

  • Ebbing Faculty Development Award (WSU, 2020-2021)

  •  NIH R35 Grant (2021-2026): "Spatiotemporal tools to interrogate O-GlcNAc functions in cellular signaling"

  •  NSF CAREER award (2023-2028): "CAREER: Illuminating O-GlcNAc-driven functions of the human proteome"

  •  Mizutani Foundation for Glycoscience research grant (2023-2024): "Capturing real-time sugar signaling in cells with light-released O-GlcNAc probes"

Selected publications

Journal articles

  • “Hyperglycemia and O-GlcNAc transferase activity drives cancer stem cell induction in triple-negative breast cancer.” Saheed Ayodeji, Emily A. Teslow, Lisa A. Polin, Greg Dyson, Aliccia Bollig-Fischer, and Charlie Fehl. Cancer Cell International (2023), volume 23: article 102. 
  • “Spatiotemporal Proximity Labeling Tools to Track GlcNAc Sugar-Modified Functional Protein Hubs during Cellular Signaling.” Yimin Liu, Zachary M. Nelson, Ali Reda, and Charlie Fehl. ACS Chemical Biology (2022) in-press. DOI:
  • Synthesis and mammalian cell compatibility of light-released glycan precursors for controlled metabolic engineering.” Courtney A. Kondor, Jaggaiah N. Gorantla, Garry D. Leonard, and Charlie Fehl. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemical (2022) in-press. DOI:
  • “Tools, Tactics, and Objectives to Interrogate Cellular Roles of O-GlcNAc in Disease.” Charlie Fehl and John A. Hanover. Nature Chemical Biology (2022) 18: 8-17. DOI:
  • “Chemical Synthesis and Biological Applications of O-GlcNAcylated Peptides and Proteins.” Groenevelt, Jessica M.; Corey, Daniel J.; Fehl, Charlie. ChemBioChem (2021) 22: 1854-1870. DOI: 10.1002/cbic.202000843
  • “Mild, Light-Driven, Posttranslational Installation of Reactive Protein Side-Chains.” Josephson, Brian*; Fehl, Charlie*; Iseneggar, Patrick* [*equal contributors]; Nadal, Simon; Wright, Tom H.; Poh, Adeline W.J.; Bower, Ben J.; Giltrap, Andrew M.; Chen, Lifu; Batchelor-McAuley, Christopher; Roper, Grace; Arisa, Oluwatobi; Sap, Jeroen B.I.; Kawamura, Akane; Baldwin, Andrew; Mohammed, Shabaz; Compton, Richard G.; Gouverneur, Veronique; Davis, Benjamin. G. Nature (2020) 585: 530. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2733-7
  • “Functional and informatics analysis enables glycosyltransferase activity prediction.” Yang, Min*; Fehl, Charlie* [*equal contributors]; Lees, Karen V.; Lim, Eng-Kiat; Offen, Wendy; Davies, Gideon J.; Bowles, Dianna J.; Roberts, Stephen J.; Davis, Benjamin G. Nature Chemical Biology, 14, 1109. (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41589-018-0154-9
  • “Structure-based design of inhibitors with improved selectivity for steroidogenic cytochrome P450 17A1 over cytochrome P450 21A2.” Fehl, Charlie; Vogt, Caleb; Yadav, Rahul; Li, Kelin; Scott, Emily E.; Aubé, Jeffrey. J. Med. Chem. 2018, 61, 4946. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.8b00419
  • “Proteins as templates for complex synthetic metalloclusters: towards biologically programmed heterogeneous catalysis.” Fehl, Charlie; Davis, Benjamin G. Proc. Royal Soc. A: Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 2016, 472, 20160078. DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2016.0078
  • “Temperature dependence of turnover in a Sc(OTf)3-catalyzed intramolecular Schmidt reaction.” Fehl, Charlie; Hirt, Erin. E.; Li, Sze-Wan; Aubé, Jeffrey. Tetrahedron Lett. 2015, 56, 3137. DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2014.12.068
  • “Photocatalytic surface patterning of cellulose using diazonium salts and visible light.” Schroll, Peter; Fehl, Charlie; Dankesreiter, Stefan; König, Burkhard. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2013, 11, 6510. DOI: 10.1039/c3ob40990b
  • “Overcoming product inhibition in catalysis of the intramolecular Schmidt reaction.” Motiwala, Hashim F.; Fehl, Charlie; Li, Sze-Wan; Hirt, Erin E.; Porubsky, Patrick; Aubé, Jeffrey. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 9000. DOI: 10.1021/ja402848c
  • “Use of a tandem Prins/Friedel-Crafts reaction in the construction of the indeno-tetrahydropyridine core of the haouamine alkaloids: formal synthesis of (-)-haouamine A.” Fenster, Erik; Fehl, Charlie; Aubé, Jeffrey. Org. Lett. 2011, 13, 2614. DOI: 10.1021/ol200725m

Book chapters

  • “Outperforming Nature’s Catalysts: Designing Metalloenzymes for Chemical Synthesis.” Fehl, Charlie; Jarvis, Amanda G.; Palm-Espling, Maria; Davis, Benjamin G.; Kamer, Paul C.J. In Modern Developments in Catalysis; World Scientific Press: Singapore, 2016; 89-122
  • “Hofmann, Curtius, Schmidt, Lossen and Related Reactions.” Fehl, Charlie; Liu, Ruzhang; McCleod, Michael; Motiwala, Hashim; Aubé, Jeffrey. In Comprehensive Organic Synthesis, 2nd Ed; Elsevier Limited: Amsterdam, 2014; 598-635


  • “Inhibitors of CYP17A1.” Fehl, Charlie; Scott, Emily E.; Aubé, Jeffrey. United States Patent 9,611,270. (April 4, 2017)

Incremental coursework

  • CHM6270/7270: Drug Design (taught 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

  • CHM1240: Organic Chemistry 1 (taught 2019, 2020, 2021)

  •  CHM6240/7240: Organic Spectroscopy (taught 2022 - present)

  •  CHM6635/7635: Tools of Molecular Biology (taugh 2023 - present)

Courses taught by Charlie Fehl

Winter Term 2024 (current)

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022