Wiest studies the reaction mechanism in organic and bioorganic chemistry, and in particular, electron transfer induced reactions. Among the systems he is currently studying are the cycloreversion of the thymine dimmer, which is part of the skin cancer protection mechanism in many organisms. Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the United States, with an estimated 1.3 million cases diagnosed annually. Wiest and his research team have synthesized an artificial enzyme they believe can repair sun-damaged DNA, the cause of many skin cancers. The enzyme attaches itself to thymine dimmers and breaks them down, repairing the DNA damaged by ultraviolet light before cancer develops. His research group also is studying new approaches to the detection and treatment of prostate and breast cancer using structure and ligand based computer-aided molecular design.
Ph.D., University of Bonn (Germany), 1993
M.S., University of Bonn (Germany), 1991