Organisation profile

Organisation profile

We make molecules.

‘Natural product’ is a blanket term used for a large and diverse group of molecules made by living organisms, they use them to adapt to their surroundings.

Natural products are important because:

  • They have great physicochemical properties (e g. they can scavenge scarce elements or store large amounts of energy).
  • They often feature complex chemical motifs that allow them to have sophisticated biological functions (e. g.interruption, regulation, or alteration of the physiological functions of other species).
  • Most medicines are Natural Products or are derived from them.

Our Scientific research

We learn chemistry from nature and use these lessons to make sustainable chemicals.

Our research starts by diving into the genomes of fungi to search for the genes that encode biosynthetic pathways for natural products. We look for compounds that may be useful to make medicines, fuels, materials, or any chemical. Then, we use synthetic biology to manipulate this genetic information and program it into the genomes of friendly microbes like the baker’s yeast. The microbe then becomes a cell factory that makes useful and valuable chemicals using sustainable and inexpensive feedstocks.

Our mission:

Decarbonization of human activities: Transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture depend on fossil fuels and produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions which are accelerating climate change. We need to find sustainable alternatives to power these activities.

We are using the chemistry of natural products to develop cell factories that make fuels and polymers to replace those made from petroleum.

Accelerating drug discovery: Finding a new drug is a laborious and expensive. Drug-like molecules are the result of millions of years of natural selection and are produced by microorganisms in tiny amounts and under very specific conditions.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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