James Peliska, PhD

Administrative Chair of Mathematics and Science


Dr. Peliska received his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry from Northland College and his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellowship at Penn State University where he began his ongoing research in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) drug discovery. Peliska started his academic teaching career at the University of Michigan School of Medicine as a professor in the Department of Biological Chemistry. At Michigan, he continued to develop his research program in HIV-1 replication and was involved in the initiation of their undergraduate Biochemistry program. He has collaborated extensively with leaders in both academic research and pharmaceutical industries and has published in leading research journals in the areas of virology, the metabolic regulation of nitrogen in bacteria, and the biochemistry of enzyme-catalyzed phosphoryl transfer reactions. 

For the last 19 years, Peliska has been a leader in Catholic higher education as a professor in departments of Biology and Chemistry, as a department chair and in his current role as Administrative Chair of Sciences and Mathematics, overseeing these programs at the University of Mary. He continues his active research program, working alongside undergraduate students in drug discovery as well as new projects in human disease diagnosis/monitoring using microfluidic and fluorescence methods.

About the Program

The University of Mary offers comprehensive majors in Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics as well as a minor in Physics. The goal of these programs is to prepare students for careers in the sciences and mathematics or for further studies in graduate and professional schools. The SURVE program encourages undergraduate students in the sciences and engineering to participate in novel research programs alongside faculty mentors. Our Biology and Mathematics Education programs take particular pride in preparing highly competent graduates in the sciences and mathematics that go on to teach in K-12 schools, helping to meet the growing teaching needs of the state of North Dakota and the region.

JA Peliska & MH O'Leary: Sulfuryl Transfer Catalyzed by Phosphokinases. Biochemistry 30:1049-1057, 1991.

Peliska, J.A. & O'Leary, M.H.: Preparation and Properties of Enolpyruvate. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 113:1841-1842, 1991.

JA Peliska, & SJ Benkovic: Mechanism of DNA Strand Transfer Reactions Catalyzed By HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase. Science 258: 1112-1118, 1992.

V Gopalakrishnan, JA Peliska & SJ Benkovic: HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase: Spatial and Temporal Relationship Between the Polymerase and RNase H Activities. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89: 10763-10767, 1992.

JA Peliska, & SJ Benkovic: A Handy Enzyme for Transcription: Current Biology 2 (10): 521-523, 1992.

JA Peliska & SJ Benkovic: The Fidelity of In Vitro DNA Strand Transfer Reactions Catalyzed by HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase: Biochemistry 33: 3890-3895, 1994.

JA Peliska, S Balasubramanian, DP Giedroc, C Debouck, & SJ Benkovic: Recombinant HIV-1 Nucleocapsid Protein Accelerates HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Catalyzed DNA Strand Transfer Reactions and Modulates RNase H Activity: Biochemistry, 33: 13817-13823 (1994).

S Gabbara, & JA Peliska: Catalytic Activities Associated With Viral Polymerases: Methods in Enzymology 275: 276-310 (1996).

P Jiang, JA Peliska, and AJ Ninfa:  Enzymological characterization of the signal-transducing uridylyltransferase/uridylyl-removing enzyme of Escherichia coli and its interaction with the PII protein, Biochemistry 37: 12782-12794 (1998).

W Davis, S Gabbara, D Hupe and JA Peliska: Actinomycin D Inhibition of DNA Strand Transfer Reactions Catalyzed by HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase and Nucleocapsid Protein, Biochemistry 37: 14213-14221 (1999).

S Gabbara, W Davis, L Hupe, D Hupe and JA Peliska: Inhibitors of DNA Strand Transfer Reactions Catalyzed by HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase, Biochemistry 38: 13070-13076 (1999). 

P Jiang, JA Peliska, and AJ Ninfa: Asymmetry in the Autophosphorylation of the Two Component Regulatory System Transmitter Protein Nitrogen Regulator II of Escherichia coli., Biochemistry, 39: 5057-5065 (2000).

W Davis, J Tomsho, S Nikam, EM Cook, D Somand and JA Peliska: Inhibition of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase Catalyzed DNA Strand Transfer Reactions by the 4-Chlorophenylhydrazone of Mesoxalic Acid, Biochemistry, 46:14279-14291 (2000).

LM Tillekeratne, A Sherette, JA Fulmer, L Hupe, D Hupe, S Gabbara, JA Peliska, RA Hudson: Differential Inhibition of polymerase and Strand-Transfer Activities of HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase. Bioorg Med Chem Lett., 12(4):525-8 (2002)

P Jiang, A Pioszak, MR Atkinson, JA Peliska, AJ Ninfa: New insights into the mechanism of the kinase and phosphatase activities of Escherichia coli NRII (NtrB) and their regulation by the PII protein. in Histidine Kinases in Signal Transduction, p143-164. Elsevier Science, San Diego, Calif. (2003)

Invited major research talks include:

Mutagenesis Gordon Conference

Steenbock Symposium, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin

University of Chicago, Department of Chemistry

University of Pittsburg, Department of Chemistry

Midwest Enzyme Chemistry Conference, University of Chicago, Northwestern University

University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

University of Michigan, Department of Medicinal Chemistry

American Chemical Society Annual Meeting, Midland, MI

Enzymes, Coenzymes and Metabolic Pathways, Gordon Conference

Wayne State University, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Marquette University, Department of Chemistry

National Cancer Institute - FCRDC, HIV Drug Resistance Program

Agouron Pharmaceuticals

HIV DRP Drug resistance Symposium (National Cancer Institute)

University of Miami School of Medicine