Daniel L. Baker

Associate Professor, Chemistry Department

423 Smith Chemistry | 3744 Walker Ave.
Office Hours
By Appointment
Daniel L. Baker

About Dr. Baker

Dr. Baker joined the Department of Chemistry at the University of Memphis in 2006, following three years as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Research in the Baker lab focuses on the analysis and characterization of bioactive lipids (lysophosphatidic acid, sphingosine 1-phosphate, and phosphatidic acid) and their roles in human biochemistry and disease. The overall goal of the lab is to better understand the mechanisms by which these specific bioactive lipids are produced and how they elicit their responses. A deeper understanding of these processes may open doors for the design of future therapeutics. Dr. Baker's expertise lies in the application of analytical biochemistry to the study of enzyme function. Research projects are conducted through interdisciplinary interactions with collaborators within the University of Memphis and beyond. Dr. Baker's major teaching focus has been CHEM3511, Foundations of Bioorganic Chemistry since 2010. However, he has also taught special topic courses on Chemical Biology and Protein Mass Spectrometry.

Research Interests

  • Autotaxin (ATX) is a phosphodiesterase that generates lysophosphatidic acid from lysophosphatidylcholine. Efforts are ongoing to understand the regulation of ATX activity by both endogenous and synthetic modulators. ATX inhibitors may be novel therapeutics against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • Sphingosine kinase (SK) mediates a phosphoryl group transfer from ATP to sphingosine that generates ADP and sphingosine 1-phosphate. Efforts are ongoing to improve the analysis of SK activity to better identify modulators. SK inhibitors may be novel therapeutics against fibrosis and autoimmune diseases.
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase (DGK) mediates a phosphoryl group transfer from ATP to diacylglycerol that generates ADP and phosphatidic acid. Efforts are ongoing to improve the analysis of DGK activity to better identify modulators. DGK inhibitors may be novel antibiotics.

Publications (most recent 10 of 43 total)

  • Fells, J.I., Lee, S.C., Norman, D.D., Tsukahara, R., Kirby, J.R., Nelsen, S., Seibel, W., Papoian, R., Patil, R., Miller, D.D., Parrill, A.L., Pham, T., Baker, D.L., Bittman, R. and Tigyi, G., Targeting the Hydrophobic Pocket of Autotaxin with Virtual Screening of Inhibitors Identifies a Common Aromatic Sulfonamide Structural Motif, FEBS J., 2014, 281(4), 1017-1028.
  • Norman, D.D., Ibezim, A., Scott, W.E., White, S., Parrill, A.L., and Baker, D.L., "Autotaxin Inhibition: Development and Application of Computational Tools to Identify Site-Selective Lead Compounds", Bioorg. & Med. Chem., 2013, 21(17), 5548-5560.
  • Fells, J.I., Lee, S.C., Fujiwara, Y., Norman, D.D., Lim, K.G., Tsukahara, R., Liu, J., Patil, R., Miller, D.D., Kirby, R.J., Nelson, S., Seibel, W., Papoian, R., Parrill, A.L., Baker, D.L., Bittman, R., and Tigyi, G., "Hits of a High-Throughput Screen Identify the Hydrophobic Pocket of Autotaxin/Lysophospholipase D as an Inhibitory Surface", Mol. Pharmacol., 2013, 84(3), 415-424.
  • Baker D.L., Pham T.C., and Sparks M.A., "Structure and Catalytic Function of Sphingosine Kinases: Analysis by Site-Directed Mutagenesis and Enzyme Kinetics", Biochim Biophys Acta., 2013, 1831(1), 139-46.
  • Ren, F., Bhana, S., Norman, D., Johnson, J., Xu, L., Baker, D., Parrill, A., and Huang, X., "Gold Nanorods Carrying Paclitaxel for Photothermal - Chemotherapy of Cancer", Bioconjugate Chem., 2013, 24(3), 376-386.
  • Singh W.M., Baine T., Kudo S., Tian S., Ma X.A., Zhou H., Deyonker N.J., Pham T.C., Bollinger J.C., Baker D.L., Yan B., Webster C.E., Zhao X., Electrocatalytic and Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production in Aqueous Solution by a Molecular Cobalt Complex. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2012, 51(24), 5941-4.
  • Mize C.D., Abbott A.M., Gacasan S.B., Parrill A.L., Baker D.L., Ligand-based autotaxin pharmacophore models reflect structure-based docking results. J Mol Graph Model. 2011, 31, 76-86.
  • Parrill A.L., Wanjala I.W., Pham T.C., and Baker D.L., Computational identification and experimental characterization of substrate binding determinants of nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 7. BMC Biochem. 2011, 12, 65.
  • Bolen, A.L., Naren, A.P., Yarlagadda, S., Beranova-Giorgianni, S., Chen, L., Norman, D.D., Baker, D.L., Rowland, M.M., Best, M.D., Sano, T., Tsukahara, T., Liliom, K., Igarashi, Y. and Tigyi, G., The Phospholipase A1 Activity of Lysophospholipase A-1 Links Platelet Activation to LPA Production During Blood Clotting. J. Lipid Res. 2011, 52, 958-970.
  • Gupte, R., Patil, R., Liu, J., Wang, Y., Lee, S.C., Fujiwara, Y., Fells, J., Bolen, A.L., Emmons-Thompson, K., Yates, C.R., Siddam, A., Panupinthu, N., Pham, T.C., Baker, D.L., Parrill, A.L., Mills, G.B., Tigyi, G., and Miller, D.D., Benzyl and Naphthalene-Methyl Phosphonic Acid Inhibitors of Autotaxin with Anti-invasive and Anti-metastatic Actions, Submitted to Chem. Med. Chem. 2011, 6, 922-935.