Bill Zuercher

Research Associate Professor (UNC) - Principal Investigator . Target Validation (SGC)

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bill Zuercher is Principal Investigator, Target Validation at the SGC-UNC and Research Associate Professor in the Division of Chemical Biology and Medicinal Chemistry in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. He is interested in using chemistry to elucidate biology, particularly through the design, synthesis, and utilization of chemical probes. As a First Mover Fellow of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program, Bill continues to advocate for expanding open, precompetitive discovery space as a means to strengthen the foundation, and ultimately the success of, drug discovery. He attended Grinnell College (Grinnell, IA) and then earned a PhD in organic chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) under the direction of Robert Grubbs. After postdoctoral study with Michael Crimmins at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Bill joined the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at GlaxoWellcome (Research Triangle Park, NC). During his 15 years at GW/GSK, Bill led multiple programs within the hit to candidate continuum. Outside of the laboratory and updating apps on his phone, Bill enjoys running, crossword puzzles, bicycling, and eating Asian food.

Research Areas

More than 10 years after the initial draft of the human genome, the preponderance of academic and industrial research remains focused on protein targets from the pre-genomic era. The availability of high quality chemical probes is an effective means for seeding research into less studied proteins. We focus on the kinase the superfamily. Although several kinases are validated drug targets (there are over 25 approved medicines targeting kinases), we have yet to see the results of selective pharmacologic inhibition of the majority of kinases.


Transactivation Function-2 of Estrogen Receptor α Contains Transactivation Function-1 Regulating Element
Arao, Y.; Coons L.A.; Zuercher W.J.; Korach K.S.
J. Biol. Chem.. 2015 290(28):17611-27. doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.638650


Seeding collaborations to advance kinase science with the GSK Published Kinase Inhibitor Set (PKIS)
Drewry DH, Willson TM, Zuercher WJ.
Curr Top Med Chem. 2014 14(3):340-2. doi:


Profile of the GSK published kinase inhibitor set across ATP-dependent and –independent luciferases: implications for reporter-gene assays
Dranchak, P.; MacArthur, R.; Guha, R.; Zuercher, W.J.; Drewry, D.H.; Auld, D.S.; Inglese, J.
PLoS One. 2013 8(3):e57888. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057888


The Development of a High-Content Screening Binding Assay for the Smoothened Receptor
Bee, W.T.; Xie, W.; Truong, M.; Will, M.; Turunen, B.; Zuercher, W.J.; McMillan, L.; Li, H.; Hornberger, K.R.; Davenport, E.A.; Ames, R.S.; Kallal, L.A.
J Biomol Screen. 2012 17(7):900-11. doi:10.1177/1087057112447872


Estrogen Related Receptor-α is a Metabolic Regulator of Effector T cell Activation and Differentiation.
Michalek, R.D.; Gerriets, V.A.; Nichols, A.; Inoue, M.; Kazmin, D.; Chang, C-Y.; Dwyer, M.; Nelson, E.; Pollizzi, K.; Ilkayeva, O.; Giguere, V.; Zuercher, W.J.; Powell, J.; Shinohare, M.; McDonnell, D.P.; Rathmell, J.C.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 108(45):18348-53. doi:10.1073/pnas.1108856108

The Metabolic Regulator ERRalpha, a Downstream Target of HER2/IGF1, as a Therapeutic Target in Breast Cancer.
Chang, C-Y.; Kazmin, D.; Jasper, J.S.; Kunder, R.; Zuercher, W.J.; McDonnell, D.P.
Cancer Cell. 2011 20(4):500-10. doi:

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