Bacteria have long been an excellent source of bioactive natural product molecules that find application in therapeutics and drug development. Marine microbes in particular represent a promising and relatively untapped reservoir of natural products, however, there are still several challenges in the field of bacterial natural products discovery. Difficulties associated with cultivation of microbes in the artificial laboratory environment and also challenges gaining access to the full biosynthetic potential of bacteria in the lab remain bottlenecks in the effective and expedient exploitation of natural products as drug leads. We are currently developing ways to expand the range of compound classes and quantity of molecules produced by bacteria during lab cultivation. This presentation will also cover ways we use genome sequence information to guide molecule discovery and direct investigations of enzymatic reactions involved in natural product biosynthesis.
Dr. Ross obtained her BSc (Hons.) in Chemistry from the University of Auckland in New Zealand before completing her Doctoral research in peptide Chemistry at the University of Alberta under the supervision of Prof. John C. Vederas. In 2012 Dr. Ross joined the lab of Prof. Bradley S. Moore at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California at San Diego as an NSERC postdoctoral fellow where she investigated the biosynthesis of peptide natural products from marine microbes. In January 2015 Dr. Ross joined the Department of Chemistry at Queen’s University as an Assistant Professor and Queen’s National Scholar in Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Her group works to learn from nature through the discovery of bioactive natural products, the study of their biosynthesis and the unique enzymes that catalyze their construction.