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David Hopwood


David Hopwood

Current Research

My responsibility for the sequencing project for the Streptomyces coelicolor chromosome ended when the analysis of the sequence was published by Bentley et al. (Nature, 417, 141, 2002). A customised database, called ScoDBII, was constructed for the complete sequence and is curated by Dr Govind Chandra at the John Innes Centre. Meanwhile I have been involved with a study of the role of a global regulator in S. coelicolor called DasR, which plays a key role in the switch from primary metabolism to differentiation and antibiotic production.

My keen interest in the use of genetic engineering to produce novel polyketides has been continued primarily via my role as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Kosan Biosciences in Hayward, California. Kosan pioneered this new technology to produce “unnatural natural products” of potential pharmaceutical utility, focussing on anti-cancer drugs, several of which are in clinical trials. Kosan was acquired in 2008 by Bristol Myers Squibb, who will progress the drug candidates. It remains to be seen what other aspects of Kosan's programme will be continued.

In early 2007 my book called “Streptomyces in Nature and Medicine: The Antibiotic Makers” was published by Oxford University Press, Inc. It gives a semi-autobiographical account of the study of Streptomyces genetics over the last half-century and the prospects for harnessing genetics to develop novel medicines. Here is a link to a review of the book:

I am co-director of a new series of Summer Schools in Applied Molecular Microbiology co-sponsored by the John Innes Centre and the Rudjer Boškovic Institute in Zagreb. The next in the series, will be at the Inter-University Centre in Dubrovnik, 25 August 2 September 2012, with the title “Microbial Metabolites in Nature and Medicine”.

I no longer have a laboratory and cannot accept PhD students or other visitors.

Streptomyces in Nature and Medicine: The Antibiotic Makers Soil PlatesScan of ColonyAct MutantsWell Plate
Map 1996 Bentley et al Mederhodin


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