Biochemical engineering under stress: from plants to people to products

Conference Dates

July 14-18, 2019


The formation of oxygen on earth, which is a relatively recent phenomenon, resulted in a new and highly toxic environment that nature had to overcome to survive. Plants and bacteria evolved unique secondary natural products through exquisitely constructed metabolic pathways to protect against such oxidative stress and against flourishing microbial threats at higher O2 levels. One common mechanistic thread involved a simple chemical motif – the ubiquitous phenolic – that serves as a “reservoir” of protection against oxidative stress. In this talk, I will highlight two examples where we have exploited phenolic compounds for the generation of new biologically active molecules and in uncovering mechanisms of new therapeutic platforms. The first example involves earlier work in our lab where we developed high-throughput, in vitro metabolic pathway engineering to yield unique type III polyketides with exceptional biological activities. The second example involves the development of a new platform technology – magnetogenetics – where alternating and static magnetic fields can be used to control gene expression leading to potential therapeutic interventions, and where control of biological outcomes can be mediated by phenolic compounds.

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