Professor Barrie Wilkinson

Group Leader Harnessing Biosynthesis for Sustainable Food and Health (HBio) Programme Leader Harnessing Biosynthesis for Sustainable Food and Health (HBio)

Barrie researches the discovery and biosynthesis of microbial natural products. 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 additionally 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.

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 also involves investigating the molecular targets and for these compounds and elucidating their mechanisms of action.

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 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.

Key research themes:

  • Identification of microbial natural products and their molecular targets
  • Characterising biosynthetic pathways
  • Understanding the mechanism of action of therapeutic compounds

Selected Publications

See all of Professor Barrie Wilkinson's publications


The Wilkinson lab is always open to possible collaborations and fellowship applications.