Prof Sarah O'Connor
Plants produce hundreds of thousands of complex metabolites called "natural products" that have many uses.
Anti-cancer agents such as vinblastine and taxol, the analgesic morphine, and the anti-malarials artemisinin and quinine are each natural products that are produced by a plant. Despite the importance of these compounds, it is unclear how many of these complicated molecules are made by the plant.
Our group elucidates and engineers the metabolic pathways that construct these compounds from simple building blocks. An understanding of these pathways allows us to harness the wealth of compounds and biocatalysts that plants have provided. Moreover, we can also begin to speculate how and why plants evolved to produce some of these molecules.
We take a multi-disciplinary approach to answering research questions, using plant molecular biology, enzymology and chemical strategies in our group.
ContactTel: 01603 450334
MIA transport protein no longer missing in actionread more
Solving a plant-based Rubik’s cube puzzleread more
Structural characterization of EasH (Aspergillus japonicus) - an oxidase involved in cycloclavine biosynthesis.
Chemical Communications 52 p14306-14309
Publisher’s version: 10.1039/c6cc08438a
Structural investigation of heteroyohimbine alkaloid synthesis reveals active site elements that control stereoselectivity
Nature Communications 7 p12116
Publisher’s version: 10.1038/ncomms12116
- Benjamin Lichman Postdoctoral Scientist
- Mohamed Kamileen Technician
- Jakob Franke Postdoctoral Scientist
- Scott Farrow Postdoctoral Scientist
- Katy Davis Student Other
- Dr Evangelos Tatsis Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Thu-Thuy Dang Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Dorota Jakubczyk Postdoctoral Scientist
- Dr Lorenzo Caputi Research Assistant
- Dr Trinh-Don Nguyen Postdoctoral Scientist
2013 Wain Medal
2011 Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
2011 ACS Pfizer Award in Enzyme Chemistry
2007-2009 Sloan Research Fellowship
2007 Arthur Neisch Young Investigator Award of the North American Phytochemical Society
2007-2010 American Cancer Society Research Scholar
2005-2008 Beckman Young Investigator
2004-2007 Latham Family Career Development Professor
2003-2005 Smith Family Medical Foundation New Investigator
2000-2002 American Chemical Society Irving S. Sigal Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School
1998-1999 American Chemical Society Organic Division Graduate Fellowship, California Institute of Technology
1998 Distinguished Graduate Student Everhart Lecture Series, California Institute of Technology
For media enquiries, contact the John Innes Centre communications team 01603 450962, email@example.com