Steven C. Zimmerman’s research is broadly based at the interface of organic chemistry, chemical biology, and materials chemistry. Zimmerman has worked on molecular recognition and supramolecular chemistry for over 30 years and over the same span periodically developed novel small molecule DNA/RNA recognition systems. In the past decade, his focus has shifted to (1) the discovery of therapeutic agents that target the DNA and RNA in myotonic dystrophy and other trinucleotide repeat expansion diseases and (2) polymers as drug and cell delivery agents and as fluorescent bioprobes. Zimmerman’s lab is interested in assembling antimicrobial and anticancer agents. The group has the infrastructure to perform an array of drug discovery studies from organic synthesis to cell studies. Zimmerman’s lab has built their own biolab, including a BSL2 facility, to develop the necessary biochemical and biophysical skill sets and methods needed to advance projects, including cellular assays, EMSA, high throughput fluorescence screening, protein expression, and purification (e.g., MBNL1), ITC, splicing recovery assays, and fluorescence imaging and spectroscopy.
Zimmerman attended the University of Wisconsin as an undergraduate. After obtaining his BS, he moved to New York City he obtained his PhD from Columbia University. He held an NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in England and joined the Illinois faculty in 1985. Professor Zimmerman’s research interests are in bioorganic, synthetic organic, and physical organic chemistry.