Natural Product Biosynthesis

Overlooked families and poorly studied classes of natural products frequently harbor genes that encode proteins that catalyze cryptic or unpredictable transformations. Studying these transformations can provide valuable insights into the biosynthesis of an entire family or class of natural products. These insights pave the way towards establishing universal biosynthetic principles for a natural product class or family and are a first step towards the design of novel, non-natural biosynthetic pathways.

Moreover, we use retrobiosynthetic analysis to identify the biosynthetic gene clusters for characterized natural products that are likely produced by non-canonical biosynthetic pathways harboring unusual biosynthetic enzymes or likely arising from spontaneous reactions.

Unusual proteins might be employed in chemoenzymatic syntheses to obtain difficult-to-synthesize chemical products and insights into the spontaneous formation of complex natural products might inspire biomimetic syntheses of these compounds.

Selected project-related publications

Atropopeptides are a Novel Family of Ribosomally Synthesized and Posttranslationally Modified Peptides with a Complex Molecular Shape I Angewandte Chemie I 2022

Pyonitrins A–D: Chimeric Natural Products Produced by Pseudomonas protegens I Journal of the American Chemical Society I 2019

A polyketide synthase component for oxygen insertion into polyketide backbones I Angewandte Chemie I 2018

Lab members working on project

Dr. Sirinthra Thiengmag


Dr. Bin Tan


Dr. Yuya Kakumu

PhD student

Ayesha Ahmed

PhD student