Our group’s research includes a diverse array of projects within the field of chemical biologywith natural productsas the focus. We are particularly interested in understanding biosynthetic processes and the application of the powerful combination of synthetic biology and organic synthesisto harness and redesign these systems, creating new biosynthetic pathways. We are interested in the manipulation of individual enzymes and biosynthetic pathways as an expeditious tools for synthesising designer “natural” product analogues of medicinal value. The rapid access to libraries of natural products, that biosynthetic manipulation can afford, is useful for gaining a greater understanding of the exact molecular mode of action of drug molecules.

We are interested in understanding biosynthetic processes at the molecular level and combining the tools of organic synthesis, molecular biology and protein biochemistry to generate new natural products of our own design (Fig 1). This research has been recognized through several prestigious awards.

There are 4 main complementary and overlapping research projects ongoing within our group:

  1. Harnessing Biosynthesisto Generate New to Nature Natural Products, Including the new approach of GenoChemeticsthat we have pioneered
  2. Biosynthetic Elucidation: We are particularly intrigued by medicinally relevant and biosynthetically exotic natural products, and in determining the chemistry, enzymology and genetic programming that underpins their assembly.
  3. Discovering and Developing Enzymes for Use in Synthesis

(Including our engineered plug- and-play biocatalytic biofilm platform for use in flow chemistry) Biotransormations

  1. Natural Product Discovery(with a particular focus on finding new antibiotics with novel scaffolds and clinically unexploited modes of action) – we employ state-of-the-art approaches and discovery is directed by combining genome reading, metabolomics and bioactivity assessment.

Recent Group News: