Diana Barko

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Diana Barko

Diana Barko

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Post-doc, Case Western Reserve University
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University


(440) 826-2489, dbarko@bw.edu

Dr. Diana Barko is an associate professor of chemistry at Baldwin Wallace University who specializes in biochemistry. Barko earned her bachelor’s degree from Heidelberg College with a double major in biology and chemistry prior to completing a doctorate in the chemistry department at Case Western Reserve University. Her dissertation work was focused on the pre-steady state kinetic characterization of lon protease in the lab of Dr. Irene Lee. Before coming to Baldwin Wallace in 2007 she completed a postdoctoral experience in Dr. Anthony Berdis’ lab in the pharmacology department at Case Western Reserve University where she contributed to a project that involved studying non-natural nucleoside analogs for their potential use as cancer therapeutics. 

Barko is an enzymologist and her main interest is the function and role of enzymes. Generally the starting point to projects in her lab is to isolate and purify the enzyme and to identify a substrate. Then students work with her to develop an enzymatic assay to study the individual steps along the reaction pathway. Her long-term research interests include furthering the investigation of protein degradation and nucleic acid metabolism.

Barko has developed two ongoing research projects in her undergraduate research lab at BW which are primarily funded by the Myeloma Foundation in Solon, Ohio. Her primary goal is to provide undergraduate students with guidance and training on how to become successful researchers. One project involves studying citrullination which is a post-translational modification of arginyl residues catalyzed by the enzyme peptidyl arginine deiminase (pad). The other project is done in collaboration with BW chemistry professor Dr. Raymond Shively and involves the characterization of G-quadruplex stabilizing molecules that can potentially be used to arrest the propagation of cancer cells that rely upon the enzyme telomerase for immortalization. Students who have worked on these projects have presented their findings at local, regional and national conferences and have been accepted into graduate programs in a variety of related disciplines.  

Courses taught

Chemistry I and II, organic chemistry and biochemistry