News & Events
Dr. Marcy Balunas
Posted on October 9, 2015
Date - October 9, 2015
Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
University of Connecticut
“Functional and Biosynthetic Analyses of Secondary Metabolites in Host-Microbe Symbioses”
Most if not all animals form benign and/or beneficial relationships with microorganisms. The importance of studying co-evolved beneficial relationships in nature is now being realized (e.g., the recent large-scale effort to sequence the human microbiome). Our lab has been utilizing several well-studied host-microbe systems as unique sources of new biologically active drug leads. We have employed various analytical techniques to interrogate these relationships including molecular networking, screening for biologically relevant activity (e.g., using antimicrobial, anti-cancer, and immunomodulatory assays), as well as isolating and identifying bioactive metabolites. In addition, we have begun characterization of the genomes, metagenomes, and transcriptomes from these host-microbe associations to better understand the biosynthetic capacity of these systems. Recent developments from our chemical ecology investigations will be presented.