Skip to Main Content

Academics - Chemistry Faculty & Staff

Academics - Chemistry Faculty & Staff

Walter Novak

Picture of Novak, Walter


Hays Science Hall 209

Personal webpage

Wally Novak arrived at Wabash in 2009, after a postdoctoral fellowship in X-ray crystallography at Brandeis University. Prof. Novak’s expertise is in the area of biochemistry and his research focuses on protein structure-function and design. Outside the classroom and lab, Prof. Novak is co-advisor to the Theta Delt Fraternity, and he enjoys attending faculty dinners and sporting events.

In his free time, Prof. Novak enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, who can also often be found on campus. He has a variety of other interests such as cooking, astronomy, gardening, and maintaining their home which was built in 1892. 


NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Brandeis University 2004-2009
Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology, University of California at San Francisco, 2004
B.A. summa cum laude in Chemistry, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, 1997


CHE 101 – Introductory Chemistry
CHE 111 – General Chemistry
CHE 221 – Organic Chemistry I
CHE 321 – Organic Chemistry II
CHE 361 – Biochemistry
CHE 461 – Special Topics in Biochemistry (recent topics include Fermentation and Nuclear Receptors)
CHE 462 – Advanced Biochemistry
Enduring Questions


Langan RA, Boyken SE, Ng AH, Samson JA, Dods G, Westbrook AM, Nguyen TH, Lajoie MJ, Chen Z, Berger S, Mulligan VK, Dueber JE, Novak WRP, El-Samad H, Baker D. De Novo Design of Bioactive Protein Switches. Nature. 2019. 572:205–210.

Novak WRP, West KHJ, Kirkman LMD, Brandt GS. Re-refinement of Plasmodium falciparum orotidine 5'-monophosphate decarboxylase provides a clearer picture of an important malarial drug target. Acta Cryst. F Struct Biol Commun. 2018 Oct 3; F74(Pt 10):664-668.

Novak WRP. (2018) Tertiary Structure Domains, Folds and Motifs. In: Wells R.D., Bond J.S., Klinman J., Masters B.S.S. (eds) Molecular Life Sciences. Springer, New York, NY.

Novak WR, Bhattacharyya B, Grilley DP, Weaver TM. Proteolysis of truncated hemolysin A yields a stable dimerization interface. Acta Crystallogr F Struct Biol Commun. 2017 Mar 1;73(Pt 3):138-145. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Drury SAM, Stucker K, Douglas A, Rush RA, Novak WRP, and Wysocki LM. Using a Deliberation of Energy Policy as an Educational Tool in a Nonmajors Chemistry Course. J Chem Ed. 2016 Nov;93(11):1879-1885.

Taylor ATS, Olofson EL, Novak WRP. Enhancing student retention of prerequisite knowledge through pre-class activities and in-class reinforcement. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2017 Mar 4;45(2):97-104. doi: 10.1002/bmb.20992. Epub 2016 Aug 18.

Dries DR, Dean DM, Listenberger LL, Novak WRP, Franzen MA, Craig PA. An expanded framework for biomolecular visualization in the classroom: Learning goals and competencies. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2017 Jan-Feb; 45(1): 69–75. Epub 2016 Aug 3.

Wimmer MR, Woods CN, Adamczak KJ, Glasgow EM, Novak WR, Grilley DP, Weaver TM. Sequential unfolding of the hemolysin two-partner secretion domain from Proteus mirabilis. Protein Sci. 2015 Nov;24(11):1841-55.

Brodkin HR, DeLateur NA, Somarowthu S, Mills CL, Novak WR, Beuning PJ, Ringe D, Ondrechen MJ. Prediction of distal residue participation in enzyme catalysis. Protein Sci. 2015 May;24(5):762-78.

*Granger JB, *Lu Z, *Ferguson JB, *Santa Maria PJ, Novak WRP. Cloning, expression, purification and characterization of an iron-dependent regulator protein from Thermobifida fusca. Protein Expr Purif. 2013 Sep 29;92(2):190-194.

Andrews FH, *Tom AR, *Gunderman PR, Novak WRP, McLeish MJ. A bulky hydrophobic residue is not required to maintain the v-conformation of enzyme-bound thiamin diphosphate. Biochemistry. 2013 May 7;52(18):3028-30.

*Indicates undergraduate coauthor

Full publication list can be found here.


NSF DUE Award 1140711, Co-PI with Ann Taylor - Fostering Remembering: Enhancing Student Retention of Prerequisite Knowledge through Preclass Activities and Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Integrated Case Studies $127,921
NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Post-Doctoral Fellowship
Burroughs Wellcome Fellowship in Quantitative Biology
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
National Research Training Grant in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Class of 1997 Student Speaker
Donal G. Meyer Outstanding Student in Chemistry Award
Society of Physics Student Underclassman Award
Army Achievement Medal
Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal