Current Group Members
Principal Investigator of the LBS
Principal Investigator of the LBS
David straddles the Biosynthesis and Discovery subgroup. His work in the biosynthesis and synthetic biology of cytotoxic glycosylated polyketides has produced new tools for target identification studies and revealed new insights into the biosyntheis of these compounds. In discovery, David is is developing a method to radically accellerate the discovery of bioactive secondary metabolites. Stay tuned.
Audrey has joined the LBS to study the biosynthesis of glycosylated polyketides and orthoester antibiotics.
Brett is a member of the Discovery subgroup and is developing methods in microbial metabolomics to accellerate the discovery of secondary metabolites, and understand their chemical ecological, and biological roles in target organisms.
Scientist at EMD Serono
David is currently a scientist at EMD Serono in Boston working in biocomputational modeling of potential therapeutics. David’s work in the VLBS was centered on the directed evolution of biocatalytic enzymes for the production of unnatural compounds. He initiated the didanosine project in the lab, beginning with the directed evolution of human purine nucleoside phosphorylase. Additionally, in collaboration with the Iverson group, David established the novel mechanism of phosphopentomutase via biochemical and structural characterization, laying the foundation for engineering of this enzyme.
Ioanna Ntai, Ph.D
Dr. Ntai is a Research Professor at Northwestern in the Proteomics Center of Excellence within the CLP Institute. Ioanna’s research focused on the biosynthesis of the unusual tripeptide phosphonate natural product K-26 where she inaugurated research into the C-P compound K-26.
Will is currently a post-doc at Manchester University in the UK continuing to follow his interests in synthetic biology and biocatalysis. William joined the LBS in 2008 after completing his undergraduate degree at Wake Forest in 2007. He entered Vanderbilt via IGP program and matriculated throught the Biochemistry Department at the VUMC. His work centered on the development of new models of the construction of unnatural biosynthetic pathways.
Vanessa Phelan, Ph.D.
Professsor, University of Colorado Denver
Vanessa is currently a tenure track professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Colorado Denver. She performed her post-doctoral research at the University of San Diego. Vanessa lead a team applying modern mass spectrometry-based tools in combination with traditional chemical, molecular and biochemical approaches to investigate the role of small molecules in the host associated polymicrobial communities. Vanessa’s research at Vanderbilt centered on the biosynthesis of two peptide natural products, K-26 and anthramycin. She decrypted the basic building blocks of K-26 biosynthesis and studied the nonribosomal mechanisms of anthramycin assembly.
Ruth Mc Nees
Dr. McNees is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Kentucky. Ruth is a member of the natural product discovery subgroup and is working on the isolation and structural elucidation of new natural products from organisms isolated from cave ecosystems.
Yu Du, Ph.D.
Dr. Du is currently a post-doctoral researcher at Vanderbilt University working in ion channel biology and drug discovery. Sunny joined the lab from Peking Union Medical College, where she received her Ph.D. studying the biosynthesis of polyketide natural products ins Streptomyces. In the LBS, Sunny has worked on the biosynthesis of K-26, Apoptolidin and Anthramycin, generating gene knockouts in actonomycetes, expressing proteins, and performing mechanistic biochemsitry.
Ahmad is currently a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Kentucky continuing research into natural product biosynthesis. Ahmad was a member of the biosynthesis subgroup and his research has centered on the biosynthesis of unusual deoxy sugars including the nitrosugar TDP-evernitrose.
Dr. Kramer is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Toronto.Glenna joined the lab in 2008, after completing her undergraduate degree from Allegheny College in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. In the LBS, Glenna studying the chemical biology of antihypertensive natural products, from biosynthesis to target identification.
Robert Scism, Ph.D.
Researcher, Pfizer Inc,
Rob’s research explored the engineering and directed evolution of nucleotide biosynthesis. In particular, he generated a new method for in vivo selection of nucleotide biosynthesis and created an in vitro pathway for the biosynthesis of the clinically important compound ribavirin. Rob was a Senior Analytical Chemist at Dow, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Illinois and Northwestern and is currently a scientist at Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
Yunfeng Hu, Ph.D.
Yunfeng leads a team of investigators at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, South China Sea Institute of Oceanology. During his Yunfeng’s tenure in the LBS, his research was centered on the biosynthesis of two natural products: everninomycin, an antibiotic octasaccharide, and anthramycin, a benzodiazepine natural product from the thermophillic actinomycete, Streptomyces refuineus.
Assistant Professor, Mercer University
Emilianne is currently a tenure track professor of chemistry at the premier undergraduate institution Mercer University. Emilianne was a member of the biosynthesis subgroup and has pioneered methods for genome editing of micromonospora involved in orthoester biosynthesis, and is using these tools to dissect the biosynthesis of extremely complicated antibiotic polysaccharides.
Kasia Derewacz, M.S.
Kasia is in the Natural Product discovery discovery subgroup and works on the discovery of new microorganisms from cave ecosystems and the isolation and structue elucidation from natural products from these organisms