Jonathon’s work concerns how bacteria produce useful drug molecules such as rapamycin; an immunosuppressant used to prevent organ rejection following transplant.
Streptomyces are bacteria which are particularly prolific producers of anti-fungal, antibacterial, anti-cancer, pesticide and immunosuppressant molecules.
Jonathon is working on protein evolution in Streptomyces natural product synthesis; looking at how the proteins make the building blocks of anti-cancer, antibiotic and immunosuppressants molecules synthesised by these soil dwelling bacteria with reference to a particular example of apparent convergent evolution.
By understanding how these biosynthetic proteins work, new drug molecules can be produced in the future using protein engineering in order to generate new antibiotics etc. to address the problem of antimicrobial resistance.