Laura Kiessling received her undergraduate training in Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she conducted undergraduate research in organic synthesis with Professor Bill Roush. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Yale University where she worked with Stuart L. Schreiber on the synthesis of anti-tumor natural products. Subsequently, she did her postdoctoral training at the California Institute of Technology in the research group of Peter B. Dervan, which led her to explore the recognition of duplex DNA through triple helix formation. She began her independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1991. Since 1999, she holds an appointment as Full Professor in Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Laura Kiessling recently became a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Her other honors and awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the ACS Frances P. Garvan-John M. Olin Medal, the Harrison-Howe, the Arthur C. Cope Scholar, and the Horrace S. Isabell Awards, among several others.

Professor Kiessling's research interests include multivalent binding events, biomolecular recognition, signal transduction, and chemical glycobiology.  Together with her group, she designs and synthesizes biomolecules to unveil structure/function relationships, particularly extracellular recognition events that involve protein–carbohydrate interactions, low affinity protein interactions, or signal transduction.
Besides her research, Laura Kiessling likes visiting museums and galleries, especially those with contemporary art. She enjoys spending her free time biking, camping, hiking, and especially rowing, and attending the Farmer’s market each Saturday, together with her husband and daughter. She is partially addicted to the podcasts, "This American Life", "Welcome to Night Vale", and "RadioLab”.