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Faculty and Staff

Fernanda Burke, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor of Biology and Chemistry
Department: Math, Science, Nursing, and Public Health
USC Lancaster
Phone: 803-313-7463
Fax: 803-313-7106
Office: Bradley 222
Resources: Schedule
Fernanda Burke

Honors and Awards:

  • 2023 John J. Duffy Excellence in Teaching Award, University of South Carolina, Palmetto College
  • 2022 Distinguished Research Service Award, University of South Carolina, Palmetto College
  • 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award, University of South Carolina Lancaster


B.S., 2002, University of Florida, Microbiology and Cell Science

Ph.D., 2007, University of Michigan, Medicinal Chemistry

Research Interests:

The long-term goal of the proposed research project will involve the development of novel unnatural peptides for the treatment and prevention of metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes. By incorporating unnatural amino acid residues into the structure of naturally occurring peptides, the degradation of these peptides by digestive enzymes can be slowed down or even prevented. Therefore, the novel peptide would have a longer half-life when taken orally, a characteristic that is necessary in order to produce a marketable drug.

The short-term goals of the project will be to synthesize several modified peptides, to develop a method to determine the rate of degradation by selected digestive enzymes, and to determine the effect of the unnatural modifications on the rate of degradation relative to the parent compound. Once a candidate is identified with improved pharmacokinetics, the compound would be tested for activity at the target receptor. A candidate with improved pharmacokinetics (i.e. adsorption, digestion, metabolism, and excretion) and comparable potency to the parent peptide would be the optimum product of the research project.