Prof Barrie Wilkinson

Project Leader
Molecular Microbiology

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 our 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. We 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.

We aim 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 we 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, we are investigating the molecular targets of antibacterial natural products and the mechanisms by which they exert their biological activity.


Tel: 01603 450991

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Recent Publications

Som N. F., Heine D., Holmes N. A., Munnoch J. T., Chandra G., Seipke R. F., Hoskisson P. A., Wilkinson B., Hutchings M. I. (2017)

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

Scott T. A., Heine D., Qin Z., Wilkinson B. (2017)

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

Zhiwei Q., Munnoch J. T., Devine R., Holmes N. A., Seipke R. F., Wilkinson K. A., Wilkinson B., Hutchings M. I. (2017)

Formicamycins, antibacterial polyketides produced by Streptomyces formicae isolated from African Tetraponera plant-ants

Chemical Science 8 p3218-3227

Publisher’s version: 10.1039/c6sc04265a

Holmes N. A., Innocent T. M., Heine D., Bassam M. A., Worsley S. F., Trottmann F., Patrick E. H., Yu D. W., Murrell J. C., Wilkinson B., Wilkinson B., Boomsma J. J., Hutchings M. I. (2016)

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

Schafer M., Stevenson C. E. M., Wilkinson B., Lawson D. M., Buttner M. J. (2016)

Substrate-assisted catalysis in polyketide reduction proceeds via a phenolate intermediate

Cell Chemical Biology 23 p1091-7

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2016.07.018

View All

Barrie Wilkinson

  • 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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