The biosynthesis of natural products continues to be a vitally important area of research in the search for new antibiotics, anticancer and antimalarial agents and other biologically active compounds. About 80% of clinically used compounds are natural product derived. The biochemical catalysts which orchestrate the creation of these complex compounds are of immense interest as they often carry out reactions which we cannot replicate synthetically with equivalent specificity and efficiency.
While the increase in available sequence data in recent years allows us to search for biosynthetic potential in the genomes of thousands of microbes, the challenge ahead lies in finding ways to unlock and exploit this potential.
Our research focuses on understanding and exploiting the natural product biosynthesis, from the conditions under which biosynthetic pathways are expressed to elucidating the mechanisms of the enzymes involved, in pursuit of novel compounds and biocatalysts.
Our approach is multi-disciplinary requiring organic synthesis, molecular biology and biochemistry as well as a range of analytical and spectroscopic methods.