Prof Barrie Wilkinson
Barrie researches the discovery and biosynthesis of microbial natural products.
He is particularly interested in identifying new compounds with antibiotic and antifungal properties, and in characterising the biosynthetic pathways and biochemical mechanisms by which they are made.
Barrie’s research involves investigating the targets for these compounds and elucidating their mode of action.
This research generates new therapeutic compounds whilst providing a deeper understanding of the evolution of molecular diversity.
- Identification of microbial natural products and targets
- Understanding the mode of action of therapeutic compounds
- Characterising biosynthetic pathways
Natural products produced by bacteria and fungi represent a major source of antibiotic and anticancer pharmaceuticals for the treatment of life threatening disease. They are important as immunosuppressant agents after transplant surgery, as drugs for the treatment of parasitic diseases, and as environmentally benign insecticides for use in crop protection.
The research in their group is focussed on identifying the pathways that bacteria use for the biosynthesis of these compounds and understanding the unusual biochemical mechanisms involved in their assembly. They have particular interest in natural products with utility for the treatment of drug resistant bacteria, fungi and viruses which represent immediate and alarming public health threats.
The group aims to better understand and then mimic how nature evolves the genes responsible for the amazing diversity of structures observed in natural product chemical space. In so doing they aspire to develop new methods and tools in order to improve access to valuable yet difficult to produce natural products, and to bioengineer new derivatives with improved activity, selectivity and biophysical properties for application as pharmaceuticals and crop protection agents.
Additionally, they are investigating the molecular targets of antibacterial natural products and the mechanisms by which they exert their biological activity.
ContactTel: 01603 450991
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Microbiology (Reading, England) 163 p1415-1419
Publisher’s version: 10.1099/mic.0.000524
The Conserved Actinobacterial Two-Component System MtrAB Coordinates Chloramphenicol Production with Sporulation in Streptomyces venezuelae NRRL B-65442.
Frontiers in microbiology 8 p1145
Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.01145
An L-threonine transaldolase is required for L-threo-ß-hydroxy-a-amino acid assembly during obafluorin biosynthesis.
Nature communications 8 p15935
Publisher’s version: 10.1038/ncomms15935
Formicamycins, antibacterial polyketides produced by Streptomyces formicae isolated from African Tetraponera plant-ants
Chemical Science 8 p3218-3227
Publisher’s version: 10.1039/c6sc04265a
Genome Analysis of Two Pseudonocardia Phylotypes Associated with Acromyrmex Leafcutter Ants Reveals Their Biosynthetic Potential.
Frontiers in microbiology 7 p2073
Publisher’s version: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.02073
- Dr Silke Alt Research Associate
- Dr Siobhan Dorai-Raj Research Fellow
- Dr Juan-Pablo Gomez-Escribano Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Daniel Heine Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Zhiwei Qin Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr David Widdick Postdoctoral Scientist
- Thomas Booth Postgraduate Student
- Thomas Scott Postgraduate Student
- Eleni Vikeli Postgraduate Student
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