Dr. Jeff McFarlane

Dr. Jeff McFarlane
Assistant Professor of Chemistry


  • Biochemistry
  • Enzymology
  • Structural Biology
  • Science Education


  • Ph.D., Biochemistry & Biophysics, University of Kansas, 2019
  • M.A., Education, Park University, 2003
  • B.S., Biology, Sterling College,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. Dr. McFarlane’s lab group studies enzymes and the interesting natural products they produce using biophysical, analytical, and kinetic techniques. One example project involves solving X-ray structures and performing kinetic analyses of enzymes involved human gut microbe polyamine biosynthesis. Polyamines are key signaling molecules necessary for cell health and their production is implicated in various disease states. Another project involves the study aminobutanoyl transferase enzymes that contribute to metallophore and natural product biosynthesis in a variety of bacterial species. During his Ph.D. studies, 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.

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.

Grant awards

The McFarlane Lab currently has an NIH R16 award providing $745,000 in funding to study polyamine biosynthesis in human gut microbes. 

Selected Publications and Presentations

Jones, Savannah J.; McFarlane, Jeffrey S. Inhibition of Carboxyspermidine Decarboxylase by Difluoromethylornithine. Enzymes Mechanisms Conference Poster Abstract. Naples, FL. January 2024.

Lee, Danielle; Atencio, Nicole; Bouchey, Shade; Shoemaker, Madeline R.; Dodd, Joshua S.; Satre, Meredith; Miller, Kenneth; McFarlane, J.S. Kinetic and structural characterization of carboxyspermidine dehydrogenase of polyamine biosynthesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2023. 

Kathleen M. Meneely; Jeffrey S. McFarlane; Collette L. Wright; Kathryn Vela; Liskin Swint-Kruse; Aron W. Fenton; Audrey L. Lamb. The 2.4 Å structure of Zymomonas mobilis pyruvate kinase: Implications for stability and regulation. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics. 2023. 

Lee, Danielle; McFarlane, J.S. Kinetic and structural characterization of carboxyspermidine dehydrogenase of polyamine biosynthesis. ASBMB Conference Oral Presentation and Poster Abstract. Seattle, WA. 2023.

Victor K. Sharma, Kylee J. Cosse, Thomas P. Binder, Jeffrey S. McFarlane, Alan M. Allgeier. Biocatalytic furfuryl alcohol production with ethanol as the terminal reductant using a single enzyme. ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 2023.

Shoemaker, Madeleine R.; Jim, Trevor; McFarlane, J.S. Functional Diversity and Structural Analysis of SAM-dependent Aminobutanoyl Transferases. ASBMB Conference Oral Presentation and Poster Abstract. Apr. 2022.

Atencio, N.; Herrod, A.; Dodd, J.; Miller, K.A.; McFarlane, J.S. Characterization of carboxynorspermidine dehydrogenase from two human gut microbes. ASBMB Conference Poster Abstract. April 2021.

McFarlane, Jeffrey S.; Lamb, Audrey L. Opine Metallophore Biosynthesis. Reference Module in Chemistry, Molecular Sciences, and Chemical Engineering. Elsevier. 2019. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-409547-2.14800-0.

McFarlane, Jeffrey S., Ronnebaum, T. A., Meneely, K. M., Chilton, A., Fenton, A. W., & Lamb, A. L. (2019). 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, 75(6), 461-469. doi:10.1107/s2053230x19007209

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.