Research Statement and Interests
The research in our group focuses on the application of synthetic chemistry to solve biological problems, such as the isolation and characterization of transient chemical species from the biosynthesis of natural products. Natural products are an invaluable source of therapeutic agents for human, animal and plant diseases; however they can also be implicated in the pathogenesis of infectious diseases and cancer. As chemists we develop simple but innovative methods to investigate Nature’s ways and their evolution. This knowledge can be then used to our advantage, for instance to engineer bacteria and plants to produce new and more effective antibiotic and anticancer agents, or to design and prepare synthetic inhibitors of virulence factors.
Our research addresses these issues and is highly interdisciplinary, as it spans from synthetic and analytical chemistry, to protein chemistry, structural biology, molecular biology and (bio)activity screening. Specific research interests are:
1) The development of synthetic probes of natural product biosynthesis.
2) The development of small-molecule inhibitors of biosynthetic processes.
3) Combinatorial biochemistry.
4) The chemistry and the biology of glycosyltransferase enzymes.
5) The chemistry and the biology of nitrogen-fixing bacteria and plants.