Research Interests:  

My work involves expanding the genetic code of zebrafish to incorporate unnatural amino acids into proteins of interest. I have used this technology to optically control enzymes by installing photolabile groups into the active site. Additionally, I am developing a phosphine-triggered protein activation method by placing aryl-azide caged lysine into enzymes. I am also developing a method for incorporation of chemically diverse residues into proteins in zebrafish through injection of chemically acylated tRNA. Aside from genetic code expansion, I am generating optically-controlled CRISPR-based tools in zebrafish and light-activated morpholino oligonucleotide gene knockdown.







B.S in Bioresource Research, B.A in International Studies, 2016, Oregon State University


PhD Advisor:  Dr. Alexander Deiters

Lab Address:   

13th Floor
Chevron Science Center
219 Parkman Ave, Pittsburgh, PA



  • Zhou W, Brown W, Bardhan A, Delaney M, Ilk AS, Rauen RR, Kahn SI, Tsang M, Deiters A. Spatiotemporal Control of CRISPR/Cas9 Function in Cells and Zebrafish using Light-Activated Guide RNA. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020 , 59 , 8998. 

  • Brown W, Deiters A. Light-activation of Cre recombinase in zebrafish embryos through genetic code expansion. Methods Enzymol. 2019;624:Ch. 13
    3) Brown W, Liu J, Deiters A. Genetic Code Expansion in Animals. ACS chem biol. 2018;13(9):2375-86

  • Brown W, Liu J., Tsang M., Deiters A.; Cell‐Lineage Tracing in Zebrafish Embryos with an Expanded Genetic Code, ChemBioChem, 27 April 2018, Vol.19(12), 1244-1249

  • Bednar R, Golbek T, Kean K, Brown W, Jana S, Baio J, Karplus PA, Mehl R. Immobilization of Proteins with Controlled Load and Orientation, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 11, 40, 36391-36398

  • Blizzard RJ, Backus DR, Brown W, Bazewicz CG, Li Y, Mehl RA. Ideal Bioorthogonal Reactions Using A Site-Specifically Encoded Tetrazine Amino Acid. J Am Chem Soc. 2015;137(32):10044-7

  • Brown W., Zhou W., and Deiters A., Regulating CRISPR/Cas9 Function through Conditional Guide RNA Control, Chembiochem, 2020 (submitted)