Dr. Jeff McFarlane

Dr. Jeff McFarlane
Assistant Professor of Chemistry


  • Biochemistry
  • Enzymology
  • Structural Biology
  • Science Education


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2019
  • M.A., Education, Park University, Parkville, Kansas, 2003
  • B.S., Biology, Sterling College, Sterling, Kansas,1997


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About Dr. Jeff McFarlane

Dr. McFarlane is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry specializing in enzymology and structural biology where he studies enzyme mechanism using biophysical, analytical and kinetic techniques. As a graduate student, Dr. McFarlane was an NIH Trainee in Chemical Biology and held an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship. He conducted research on the biosynthesis of opine metallophores which are small molecule metal chelators that enhance virulence in bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Trained as a X-ray crystallographer, he has published 16 X-ray crystal structures of enzymes to the Protein Data Bank.

Prior to doctoral study, Dr. McFarlane was a science teacher for Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. He formed partnerships with Prep-KC, the University of Kansas and Kansas City, Kansas Community College to develop health science and biotechnology pathway programs serving 300 high school students per year. These curricula enabled students to cultivate the skills and experience necessary to find success in college science degree programs. Dr. McFarlane has received several teaching awards including Outstanding Secondary Science Teacher for the State of Kansas, from Sigma Xi, in 2013.

At Fort Lewis College, Dr. McFarlane is continuing his study of enzymes and the interesting natural products they produce. One example project involves solving X-ray structures and performing kinetic analyses of two enzymes involved human gut microbe polyamine biosynthesis. Polyamine biosynthesis is a potential chemotherapeutic target as it is associated with colon cancer in humans. Another project asks what structural determinants allow nicotianamine synthase enzymes from plant, bacterial and archaeal species to perform variant chemistries and generate many different secondary natural products.

Selected Publications and Presentations

McFarlane, J. S.; Lamb, A. L., The Biosynthesis of Opine Metallophores. Comprehensive Natural Products III: Chemistry and Biology. Vol. 5. Elsevier: 2019. Accepted.

McFarlane, J.S.; Davis, C.L.; Moran, G.R.; Lamb, A.L, An Opine on Opines: Characterizing Opine Metallophore Biosynthesis in Bacterial Pathogens. Poster presentation. Enzymes Mechanisms Conference. New Orleans, LA. 2019.

McFarlane, J. S.; Ronnebaum, T. A.; Meneely, K. M.; Chilton, A.; Fenton, A. W.; Lamb, A. L., Changes in the allosteric site of human liver pyruvate kinase upon activator binding include the breakage of an intersubunit cation–π bond. Acta Crystallographica Section F Structural Biology Communications 2019, 75 (6), 461-469.

Ronnebaum, T. A.; McFarlane, J. S.; Prisinzano, T. E.; Booker, S. J.; Lamb, A. L., Stuffed Methyltransferase Catalyzes Penultimate Step of Pyochelin Biosynthesis. Biochemistry 2018.

McFarlane, J. S.; Hagen, R.; Chilton, A. S.; Forbes, D.; Lamb, A.; Ellis, H. R., Not as easy as pi: an insertional residue does not explain the pi-helix gain-of-function in two component FMN reductases. Protein Sci 2018.

McFarlane, J. S.; Davis, C. L.; Lamb, A. L., Staphylopine, pseudopaline and yersinopine dehydrogenases: a structural and kinetic analysis of a new functional class of opine dehydrogenase. J Biol Chem 2018.

McFarlane, J. S.; Lamb, A. L., Biosynthesis of an Opine Metallophore by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Biochemistry 2017, 56, 5967-5971.