Current Research
Natural Antibiotics: Discovery, Biosynthesis, and Mechanisms of Action

Wilfred A. van der Donk wants to understand enzymatic transformations that are of environmental or pharmaceutical importance. Currently, Van der Donk and his team are focused on the discovery, mode of action, and mechanism of biosynthesis of two classes of antibiotics that are underexplored and have potential therapeutic use: ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) that act as antibiotics and phosphonate antibiotics. Using synthetic organic chemistry, bioinformatics, and molecular biology techniques, the team seeks to define the biosynthesis and biochemical function of these natural compounds, and to discover new compounds that are of potential use in medicine or agriculture.

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