Eric Kool received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University and did postdoctoral work in nucleic acids chemistry at Caltech. He started his career at the University of Rochester before moving to Stanford in 1999, where he is the George and Hilda Daubert Professor of Chemistry. He teaches Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology to undergraduate and graduate students.
The Kool lab uses the tools of chemistry to study the structures, interactions and biological activities of nucleic acids and the enzymes that process them. Molecular design and synthesis play a major role in this work, followed by analysis of structure and function, both in test tubes and in living systems. These studies are aimed at gaining a better basic understanding of biology, and applying this knowledge to practical applications in biomedicine.
As part of this research, members of the group synthesize designer nucleobases and nucleotides, with unusual properties such as fluorescence, enzyme reactivity, or altered shape and H-bonding ability. We use these as tools to study DNA polymerase enzymes, DNA repair pathways, and RNA modifying enzymes. This work is leading to new probes for diagnosis of cancer, useful fluorescent tags for biology, and fluorescent sensors of many species such as cancer metabolites and toxic metals.