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Karlsson, Amy J.

Assistant Professor
1223 Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Lab Description: 

News About This Professor


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin—Madison, 2009

Research Interests 

Protein engineering, biomolecular recognition, fungal disease.


Our lab engineers proteins and peptides to specifically recognize proteins and cells with the goal of enhancing the understanding of fungal disease and developing tools for fungal disease diagnosis and antifungal drug design. Fungal infections are a serious medical concern for patients with compromised immune systems, such as patients undergoing chemotherapy or patients with HIV or AIDS. A limited number of antifungal drugs are available to treat fungal disease, and the use of these drugs can be limited by resistance to the drugs or by toxicity of the drugs. We use protein engineering strategies, including both rational design and directed evolution, to design protein and peptides tools that allow us to evaluate new antifungal drug targets and engineer increased specificity of antifungal agents. We are also interested in developing diagnostic tools to improve the detection and identification of fungal pathogens.

Honors and Awards 

NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (2011–2012)

Selected Publications 

Karlsson AJ*, Lim H-K*, Xu H, Rocco MA, Bratkowski MA, Ke A, and DeLisa MP. 2012. Engineering antibody fitness and function using membrane-anchored display of correctly folded proteins. Journal of Molecular Biology 416, 94-107. Featured on cover of February 10 issue. (*Equal contributions)

Chongsiriwatana NP, Miller TM, Wetzler M, Vakulenko S, Karlsson AJ, Palecek SP, Mobashery S, and Barron AE. 2011. Short alkylated peptoid mimics of antimicrobial lipopeptides. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 55, 417-20.

Karlsson AJ*, Flessner RM*, Gellman SH, Lynn DM, and Palecek SP. 2010. Polyelectrolyte multilayers fabricated from antifungal b-peptides: design of surfaces that exhibit antifungal activity against Candida albicans. Biomacromolecules 11, 2321-28. (*Equal contributions)

Karlsson AJ, Pomerantz WC, Neilsen KJ, Gellman SH, and Palecek SP. 2009. Effect of sequence and structural properties on 14-helical b-peptide activity against Candida albicans planktonic cells and biofilms. ACS Chemical Biology 4, 567-79.

Li F, Svarovsky MJ, Karlsson AJ, Wagner JP, Marchillo K, Oshel P, Andes D, and Palecek SP. 2007. Eap1p, an adhesin that mediates Candida albicans biofilm formation in vitro and in vivo. Eukaryotic Cell 6, 931-9.

Karlsson AJ, Pomerantz WC, Weisblum B, Gellman SH, and Palecek SP. 2006. Antifungal activity from 14-helical b-peptides. Journal of the American Chemical Society 128, 12630-1.

Related News 

UMD Students Encourage Fellow Academics to Get Moving
Joey Hurm and Tanner Pfendner organize calisthenics club to promote fitness, decrease stress.  October 9, 2017

ChBE PhD Candidate Wins 2017 Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award
Svetlana Ikonomova was recognized at the UMD Graduate School Fellowship and Awards Celebration on May 11th.  May 17, 2017

ChBE Professor Nominated for UMD Invention of the Year
Assistant Professor Amy Karlsson is in the running for her 'fungus fighting' research. February 21, 2017

ChBE Student Receives AIChE 2016 Oral Presentation Award
Svetlana P. Ikonomova received one of four awards issued by AIChE for top-knotch presenters.   November 23, 2016

Karlsson Receives ENGAGED Faculty Award
Award recognizes professor's efforts to increase student retention. June 1, 2015

Undergrads Host AIChE Conference; Chem-E Car Shelldon Heads to National Competition
AIChE welcomes more than 300 chemical engineering students from more than two dozen schools. April 21, 2015

Fighting Fungus: Engineering Antibodies for Validating Antifungal Drug Targets
Powe Junior Faculty Award supports Karlsson’s development of new experimental tool. August 18, 2014

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Honorable Mentions for ChBE Students
Two undergraduates and one graduate student recognized by NSF for research accomplishments. April 16, 2014

Dominion Resources Supports Lab Upgrade
$30K gift supports purchase of new heat exchanger station for chemical engineering unit ops facility. September 18, 2012

Karlsson Joins ChBE Faculty
Professor seeks to improve diagnosis and treatment of fungal diseases in immunocompromised patients. August 27, 2012