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Young-Hoon Ahn

Young-Hoon Ahn, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
Office: Disque Hall 506

Additional Sites:

Ahn Group Research
Google Scholar


  • PhD, New York University, 2007
  • MS, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea, 2001
  • BS, Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea, 1999

Curriculum Vitae:

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Research Interests:

  • Chemical Biology
  • Cysteine Proteomics
  • Redox Signaling, Glutathione, and Post-translational Modifications
  • Medicinal Chemistry


  • Postdoctoral fellow, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2008-2012
  • Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Wayne State University, 2012-2018
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, Wayne State University, 2018-2022
  • Associate Professor of Chemistry, Drexel University, 2022-present


Our research is centered on investigating cysteine-based redox signaling in physiology and diseases. Many biological processes are regulated by redox chemistry mediated by oxidases, redox enzymes, and metabolic states, which are often dysregulated in diseases, including cancer and heart diseases. We are interested in interrogating redox-mediated biological processes, especially using a suite of chemical tools and methods that enable an understanding of protein cysteine oxidation at the molecular level. We use various interdisciplinary approaches, including synthetic chemistry, protein biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and mouse studies, to understand the protein chemistry behind redox biology.

  • Development of Chemical Tools for Glutathione Biology: We are developing glutathione-based chemical probes to understand glutathione biology and protein glutathionylation. We are applying our approach for the identification of protein glutathionylation in cellular and mouse models. We also focus on developing new chemoproteomic methods to study redox-based protein regulation.
  • Chemical Proteomics and Bioinformatics for Protein Glutathionylation: We use a chemoproteomic strategy to identify glutathionylation. We combine chemical proteomics, bioinformatics, and structural analysis to identify and pinpoint biologically or functionally important cysteines regulated by glutathionylation.
  • Functional Studies of Protein Glutathionylation: Reactive oxygen species are significant factors that contribute to heart diseases and cancer. We are currently investigating glutathionylation in two biological systems, cancer and the cardiovascular system. We use various approaches, including protein biochemistry and cell biology, to investigate the functional significance of glutathionylation.
  • Chemical Biology to Target Functional Cysteines: We develop covalent small-molecule or peptide-derived inhibitors to target functional cysteines in enzymes implicated in cancers. We use various approaches, including synthetic organic chemistry, molecular modeling, the rational-design, and peptide-library screening.

Selected Publications:

  1. Kukulage, D. S. K.#; Yapa Abeywardana, M.#; Matarage Don, N. N. J.; Hu, R.-M.; Shishikura, K.; Matthews, M. L.; Ahn, Y. H. Development and application of chemical proteomics identify p120-catenin glutathionylation regulating E-cadherin stability, Cell Chem. Biol., 2023, 30, 1542-1556. #equal contribution.
  2. Oppong, D.; Schiff, W.; Shivamadhu, M. C.; Ahn, Y. H. Chemistry and Biology of Enzymes in Protein Glutathionylation, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol., 2023, 75, 102326.
  3. Kukulage, D. S. K., Matarage Don, N. N. J., Ahn, Y. H. Emerging Chemistry and Biology in Protein Glutathionylation, Curr. Opin. Chem. Biol. 2022, 71, 102221.
  4. Yapa Abeywardana, M., Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Munkanatta Godage, D., Ahn, Y. H. Identification and Quantification of Glutathionylated Cysteines under Ischemic Stress, J. Proteome Res. 2021, 20, 4529-4542.
  5. Gurusingha Arachchige, H. S., Herath Mudiyanselage, P. D. H., VanHeck, G. C., Patel, K., Cheaito, H. A., Dou, Q. P., Ahn, Y. H. Synthesis and Evaluation of Tiaprofenic Acid-derived UCHL5 Deubiquitinase Inhibitors, Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2020, 30, 115931.
  6. VanHecke, G. C.,a Yapa Abeywardana, M.,a Huang, B., Ahn, Y. H. Isotopically-labelled Clickable Glutathione to Quantify Protein S-Glutathionylation, ChemBioChem, 2020, 21, 853-859. a equal contribution
  7. VanHecke, G. C., Yapa Abeywardana, M., Ahn, Y. H. Proteomic Identification of Protein Glutathionylation in Cardiomyocytes, J. Proteome Res. 2019, 18, 1806-1818.
  8. Munkanatta Godage, D. N. P., VanHecke, G. C., Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Feng, H. Z., Hiske, M., Holcomb, J., Yang, Z., Jin, J. -P., Chung, C. S., Ahn, Y. H. SMYD2 Glutathionylation Contributes to Degradation of Sarcomeric Proteins. Nature Commun. 2018, 9, 4341
  9. Kekulandara, D. N., Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Munkanatta Godage, D. N. P., Ahn, Y. H. Clickable glutathione using tetrazine-alkene bioorthogonal chemistry for detecting protein glutathionylation. Org. Biomol. Chem. 2016, 14, 10886-10893.
  10. Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Munkanatta Godage, D. N. P., Zhou, Y., Ndombera, F. T., Weerapana, E., Ahn, Y. H.* Clickable Glutathione Approach for Identification of Protein Glutathionylation in Response to Glucose Metabolism. Mol. Biosyst. 2016, 12, 2471-2480.
  11. Ndombera, F. T., VanHecke, G. C., Nagi, S., Ahn, Y. H.* Carbohydrate-based Inducers of Cellular Stress for Targeting Cancer Cells. Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2016, 26, 1452-1456.
  12. Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Ahn, Y. H.* Synthesizing Clickable Glutathione by Glutathione Synthetase Mutant for Detecting Protein Glutathionylation. SynLett. 2015, 26, 285-293.
  13. Samarasinghe, K. T. G., Munkanatta Godage, D. N. P., VanHecke, G. C., Ahn, Y. H.* Metabolic Synthesis of Clickable Glutathione for Chemoselective Detection of Glutathionylation. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 11566- 11569.