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Diana Kao

Posted on October 10, 2019


Date - October 10, 2019
9:30 am - 11:30 am


Ph.D. Candidate, Medicinal Biochemistry
PhD Dissertation Seminar 752
Adviser: Dr. Nicholas Oberlies
**Talk takes place at 9:30 am in Sullivan Science Building Room 435**
Talk Title: “Steps in the Journey to Advance the Study of Nature’s Chemistry”


“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” is a saying from the philosopher of Laozi, the founder of Taosim, and Taoism believes in living in harmony with the universe or nature itself.  This seems particularly appropriate to describe the journey of this body of work, which itself is not beginning nor the end of the journey for research in natural products’ chemistry, which is to find new treatments by studying the nature herself.  However, over the course of the past three decades, rational drug design and combinatorial chemistry have become major methods to develop pharmacologically significant drugs. Whereas, in the last 30 years, 64% of the approved small-molecule drugs originated from natural products, which studies nature’s building blocks. 

Classically, plants are the first image that comes to mind when one thinks of natural products when in fact, there is a wide diversity of sources such as microorganisms remain relatively unexplored.  One such microorganism is fungi. Literature estimates there to be about 5 million fungal species and only 100,000 species having been identified-even fewer measured for their potential bioactivity. The way we think of natural products is changing, and so the way we work with natural products also needs to change. Presented here are the characterization of new and known compounds from a filamentous fungus, methods to augment the isolation techniques for a compound of interest from a fungal endophyte (Pencillium restrictum) for laboratory scale, and applying droplet probe, a unique in situ technique, to study natural products.