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Natural products success

23 February 2012

PhD student Khomaizon Abdul Kadir Pahirulzaman (Myzone) returned from the Zing conference on Natural Products Synthesis and Biosynthesis with a prize for her poster "Efficient production of natural products in Aspergillus oryzae".

PhD student Khomaizon Abdul Kadir Pahirulzaman (Myzone) returned from the Zing conference on Natural Products Synthesis and Biosynthesis, held in Lanzarote (10-13 February 2012) with a prize for her poster "Efficient production of natural products in Aspergillus oryzae". In addition to Drs Colin Lazarus (supervisor) and Andy Bailey in Biological Sciences, the poster's authors include Professors Russell Cox and Tom Simpson in Chemistry, indicating the inter-disciplinary nature of Myzone's research. The Bristol Polyketide Group uses molecular biology and analytical chemistry to discover how microbial secondary metabolites, ranging from the most potent toxins to the most valuable pharmaceuticals, are made. Myzone's PhD project has focused on the development of a molecular toolkit that allows the simultaneous transfer of many or all of the genes that make up a complex biosynthetic pathway into a foreign fungal host for safe and efficient expression. Chemical analysis of the compounds made allows the specific functions of the various pathway genes to be determined and mixing genes from different pathways should allow the rational design and biosynthesis of novel compounds with interesting biological activities.

The Bristol Polyketide Group (Cox as PI; Bailey, Lazarus, Simpson and Dr Gary Barker as CoIs) has very recently been granted a substantial BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award to investigate and exploit nonadride biosynthesis for the development of a new generation of herbicides. The research, to be carried out in collaboration with Syngenta, will make extensive use of the molecular toolkit developed by Myzone.

 

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