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Molecular Medicine

Molecular Medicine

Robert Deschenes, Ph.D. E-4926-2010

Robert Deschenes, Ph.D.

Associate Dean, College of Medicine Molecular Medicine

Director of Research, Cancer Center

Professor and Chairman, Department of Biochemistry, Joseph F. Heil, Jr. Professor of Molecular Oncogenesis

Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Vice Chair, Department of Biochemistry

Director, Genetics Interdisciplinary Program

Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry

Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Molecular Biology

Professor & Chair, Molecular Medicine, Morsani College of Medicine

Contact Info 12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.
Tampa FL 33612

Academic Email:

Academic Phone:(813) 974-6393

View My C.V.


  • PHD, Biochemistry, Purdue University, 1984
  • M.S., Biochemistry, Tufts University, 1980
  • B.A., Biology, St. Michael's College, 1977

Interdisciplinary and Emerging Signature Programs

  • Cancer Biology
  • Neuroscience

Research Interests

  • The Deschenes research group and collaborators are currently working on the posttranslational modifications that regulate the subcellular localization and function of signal transduction proteins.


  • Fellow (AAAS, 2013 - Present)
  • Member (ASBMB, 1990 - Present)

Recent Publications

  • Beard RS, Yang X, Meegan JE, Overstreet JW, Yang CG, Elliott JA, Reynolds JJ, Cha BJ, Pivetti CD, Mitchell DA, Wu MH, Deschenes RJ, Yuan SY. Palmitoyl acyltransferase DHHC21 mediates endothelial dysfunction in systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Nature communications. 7: 12823, 2016.
  • Reddy KD, Malipeddi J, DeForte S, Pejaver V, Radivojac P, Uversky VN, Deschenes RJ. Physicochemical sequence characteristics that influence S-palmitoylation propensity. Journal of Biomolecular structure & dynamics. : 1-14, 2016.
  • Hamel LD, Lenhart BJ, Mitchell DA, Santos RG, Giulianotti MA, Deschenes RJ. Identification of Protein Palmitoylation Inhibitors from a Scaffold Ranking Library. Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening. 19(4) : 262-74, 2016.
  • Hamel LD, Deschenes RJ, Mitchell DA. A fluorescence-based assay to monitor autopalmitoylation of zDHHC proteins applicable to high-throughput screening. Analytical Biochemistry. 460: 1-8, 2014.
  • Mitchell DA, Hamel LD, Reddy KD, Farh L, Rettew LM, Sanchez PR, Deschenes RJ. Mutations in the X-linked intellectual disability gene, zDHHC9, alter autopalmitoylation activity by distinct mechanisms. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 289(26) : 18582-92, 2014.
  • Luongo K, Holton A, Kaushik A, Spence P, Ng B, Deschenes R, Sundaram S, Bhansali S. Microfluidic device for trapping and monitoring three dimensional multicell spheroids using electrical impedance spectroscopy. Biomicrofluidics. 7(3) : 34108, 2013.
  • Mitchell DA, Hamel LD, Ishizuka K, Mitchell G, Schaefer LM, Deschenes RJ. The Erf4 subunit of the yeast Ras palmitoyl acyltransferase is required for stability of the Acyl-Erf2 intermediate and palmitoyl transfer to a Ras2 substrate. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 287(41) : 34337-48, 2012.
  • Pedram A, Razandi M, Deschenes RJ, Levin ER. DHHC-7 and -21 are palmitoylacyltransferases for sex steroid receptors. Molecular biology of the cell. 23(1) : 188-99, 2012.
  • Mitchell DA, Mitchell G, Ling Y, Budde C, Deschenes RJ. Mutational analysis of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Erf2 reveals a two-step reaction mechanism for protein palmitoylation by DHHC enzymes. The Journal of biological chemistry. 285(49) : 38104-14, 2010.
  • Vinnakota KC, Mitchell DA, Deschenes RJ, Wakatsuki T, Beard DA. Analysis of the diffusion of Ras2 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Physical biology. 7(2) : 026011, 2010.
  • Jennings BC, Nadolski MJ, Ling Y, Baker MB, Harrison ML, Deschenes RJ, Linder ME. 2-bromopalmitate and 2-(2-Hydroxy-5-nitro-benzylidene)-benzo[b]thiophen-3-one inhibit DHHC-mediated palmitoylation in vitro. Journal of lipid research. , 2008.
  • Shankarnarayan S, Narang SS, Malone CL, Deschenes RJ, Fassler JS. Modulation of yeast Sln1 kinase activity by the CCW12 cell wall protein. The Journal of biological chemistry. 283(4) : 1962-73, 2008.
  • Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. Palmitoylation: policing protein stability and traffic. Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology. 8(1) : 74-84, 2007.
  • Budde C, Schoenfish MJ, Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. Purification and characterization of recombinant protein acyltransferases. Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 40(2) : 143-50, 2006.
  • Mitchell DA, Vasudevan A, Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. Protein palmitoylation by a family of DHHC protein S-acyltransferases. Journal of lipid research. 47(6) : 1118-27, 2006.
  • Wang G, Deschenes RJ. Plasma membrane localization of Ras requires class C Vps proteins and functional mitochondria in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular and cellular biology. 26(8) : 3243-55, 2006.
  • Swarthout JT, Lobo S, Farh L, Croke MR, Greentree WK, Deschenes RJ, Linder ME. DHHC9 and GCP16 constitute a human protein fatty acyltransferase with specificity for H- and N-Ras. The Journal of biological chemistry. 280(35) : 31141-8, 2005.
  • Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. Model organisms lead the way to protein palmitoyltransferases. Journal of cell science. 117(Pt 4) : 521-6, 2004.
  • Dong X, Mitchell DA, Lobo S, Zhao L, Bartels DJ, Deschenes RJ. Palmitoylation and plasma membrane localization of Ras2p by a nonclassical trafficking pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Molecular and cellular biology. 23(18) : 6574-84, 2003.
  • Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. New insights into the mechanisms of protein palmitoylation. Biochemistry. 42(15) : 4311-20, 2003.
  • Lobo S, Greentree WK, Linder ME, Deschenes RJ. Identification of a Ras palmitoyltransferase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The Journal of biological chemistry. 277(43) : 41268-73, 2002.
  • Zhan XL, Hong Y, Zhu T, Mitchell AP, Deschenes RJ, Guan KL. Essential functions of protein tyrosine phosphatases PTP2 and PTP3 and RIM11 tyrosine phosphorylation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae meiosis and sporulation. Molecular biology of the cell. 11(2) : 663-76, 2000.

Positions Held

  • Director of Research (Cancer Center, Medical College of Wisconsin 2007 - 2008)
  • Professor and Chairman (Department of Biochemistry, Joseph F. Heil, Jr. Professor of Molecular Oncogenesis, Medical College of Wisconsin 2004 - 2008)
  • Professor (Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa 2000 - 2004)
  • Vice Chair (Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa 2002 - 2004)
  • Director (Genetics Interdisciplinary Program, University of Iowa 1999 - 2004)
  • Associate Professor (Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa 1995 - 2000)
  • Assistant Professor (Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa 1989 - 1994)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow (Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University 1984 - 1989)


  • Basil O'Connor Scholar (1989-1992) (March of Dimes - 1987)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1987-1989) (National Institutes of Health - 1987)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (1985-1987) (Anna Fuller Cancer Fund - 1985)
  • Fellowship (American Diabetes Association Summer Research Fellow - 1983)
  • Fellowship (1981-1983) (David Ross Research Fellow - 1981)