Friday, February 23, 2018 at 12:20pm
Associate Professor, Institute of Biological Chemistry. Co-Director of the J.J.Murdock Metabolomics, Washington State University
Research: Plants produce a diverse array of metabolites, the majority of which do not appear to be directly involved in growth and development. These metabolites are commonly referred to as secondary metabolites, specialized metabolites or natural products. In contrast to primary metabolites, which are found in all organisms and are usually involved in essential processes, plant natural products oftentimes play more elusive roles in the communication of plants with their environment (e.g., protection against herbivores and infection and attraction of pollinators and/or seed dispersers) and are differentially distributed. Plant natural products are better known for their utility as dyes (e.g., indigo), fibers (e.g., cellulose), flavors (e.g., eugenol in cloves), fragrances (e.g., essential oils), and pharmaceuticals (e.g., morphine or taxol). Research in my laboratory is aimed at characterizing the interface between primary and secondary metabolic pathways, with particular emphasis on the biosynthesis of terpenoids, the most diverse class of plant natural products. We are taking advantage of recent and continuing advances in next-generation sequencing, metabolomics and computational biology to develop integrative mathematical models describing the regulation of terpenoid and related metabolic pathways, thus enabling gene discovery and knowledge-based approaches for pathway improvements by breeding or metabolic engineering.
Currently, we have an active research program in the following areas:
TERPENOID PATHWAY GENE DISCOVERY
REGULATION AND ENGINEERING OF TERPENOID METABOLIC PATHWAYS