Pumtiwitt  McCarthy

Assistant Professor



B.S. Biochemistry, cum laude, Rowan University, 2003

Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of Delaware, 2009

NIH PRAT Postdoctoral Fellowship, ORISE Fellowship, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2009-2013


Research Interests

Enzymology, protein structure-function relationships, carbohydrate biosynthesis, chemoenzymatic synthesis, carbohydrate-based biomaterials, redox and cysteine chemistry, glycomimetics, vaccine development

Current Research

Carbohydrates are emerging as important factors in human disease including cancer, neurodegeneration and infectious disease. Research in the McCarthy lab focuses on carbohydrates in the context of infectious disease. One of the leading causes of invasive bacterial meningitis is the encapsulated pathogen Neisseria meningitidis. This research program seeks to develop a better understanding of the biochemistry of carbohydrate-producing enzymes from N. meningitidis. We seek to use these enzymes as potential synthetic tools for carbohydrate-based biomaterials as well as in vaccine production. We use a combined method of chemical and enzymatic synthesis to make our carbohydrate products.

Crystal structure of the receptor binding domain of tetanus toxin protein from Clostridium tetani (PDB ID:1af9)

Spring 2014

Erika Okehie, left (Graduated Spring 2014, Major: Chemistry), Francis Owolabi (Senior, Major: Chemistry)

Summer 2014

Summer 2014: Ophelia Ukaegbu, (Junior, Major: Chemistry)

Saeed Alsolumi (Junior, Major: Medical Technology)

Corshai Williams (ACS Project SEED Fellow, Western High School graduate)

Dr. McCarthy is profiled by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology:
Link to August 2014 Issue of ASBMB Today

Research Publications

  1. K.M. Muindi, P.C. McCarthy, T. Wang, J. Vionnet, M. Battistel, E. Jankowska,W.F. Vann, Characterization of the Meningococcal Serogroup X Capsule N-Acetylglucosamine-1-Phosphotransferase, Glycobiology 2013, DOI: 10.1093/glycob/cwt091
  2. P.C. McCarthy, R. Saksena, D.C. Peterson, C.H. Lee, Y. An, J.F. Cipollo, W.F.Vann. Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Immunogenic Meningococcal Group C Polysialic Acid-Tetanus Hc Fragment Glycoconjugates, Glycoconjugate Journal 2013, DOI: 10.1007/s10719-013-9490-x
  3. D.C. Peterson, J. Vionnet, G. Arakere, P.C. McCarthy, W.F. Vann. Characterization and acceptor specificity of a soluble meningococcal group C polysialyltransferase, Journal of Bacteriology (2011) 193, 1576-1582
  4. S.L. Mosley, P.C. Rancy, D.C. Peterson, J. Vionnet, R. Saksena, W.F. Vann. Chemoenzymatic synthesis of conjugatable oligosialic acids, Biocatalysis and Biotransformations (2010) 28, 1-10
  5. D. Ramadan, P.C. Rancy, R. Nagarthar, J.P. Schneider, C.Thorpe. Arsenic (III) Species Inhibit Oxidative Protein Folding in Vitro, Biochemistry (2009) 48, 424-
  6. P.C. Rancy and C. Thorpe. Oxidative Protein Folding in vitro: a Study of the Cooperation between Quiescin-sulfhydryl Oxidase and Protein Disulfide Isomerase, Biochemistry (2008) 47, 12047-12056
  7. E.J. Heckler, P.C. Rancy, Vamsi K. Kodali, Colin Thorpe. Generating disulfides with the Quiescin sulfhydryl oxidases. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (2008)1783, 567-577
  8. S. Sivendran, M.L. Segall, P.C. Rancy, R.F. Colman. Effect of Asp69 and Arg310 on the pK of His68, a Key Catalytic Residue of Adenylosuccinate Lyase (ASL). Protein Science (2007) 16, 1700-170

Invited Oral Presentations

  1. Pumtiwitt C. McCarthy "Exploring Sialyltransferases of Neisseria meningitidis." NIH/FDA Glycoscience Research Day, NIH, Bethesda, MD (2014)
  2. Pumtiwitt C. McCarthy. "Studies of the capsule-producing enzymes from the bacterial pathogen Neisseria meningitidis." DuPont Experimental Station, Wilmington, DE (2014)
  3. Pumtiwitt C. McCarthy. "Towards a Well Defined Meningitis Vaccine: Chemoenzymatic Synthesis of Meningococcal Glycoconjugate Vaccine Candidates". American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA (2012)
  4. Willie F. Vann and Pumtiwitt McCarthy. "Bacterial polysaccharide assembly and its application to vaccine synthesis". Baltimore-Washington Area Glycobiology Interest Group, The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD (2012)
  5. Pumtiwitt C. McCarthy. "Chemoenzymatic synthesis of an immunogenic meningococcal group C polysialic acid-tetanus Hc fragment glycoconjugate". Microbial Polysaccharides of Medical, Agricultural, & Industrial Importance, FASEB Summer Research Conference, Carefree, AZ (2011)
  6. Pumtiwitt C. McCarthy. "Preparation of a meningococcal group C polysialic acid-tetanus Hc fragment glycoconjugate vaccine candidate by chemoenzymatic synthesis". Frontiers at the Chemistry-Biology Interface Symposium, Newark, DE (2011)
  7. Pumtiwitt C. Rancy. "In vitro studies of oxidative protein folding: the cooperation between protein disulfide isomerase and Quiescin-sulfhydryl oxidase". NOBCChE National Conference, Philadelphia, PA (2008).