The Osbourn Lab
produce a huge array of natural products (secondary metabolites). These
compounds are exploited by humans as sources of drugs,
flavouring agents, fragrances and for a wide range of
The natural function
of plant-derived natural products is in ecological interactions,
where they provide protection against attack by herbivores
and microbes and serve as attractants for pollinators
and seed-dispersing agents.
They may also contribute to competition and invasiveness by suppressing
the growth of neighbouring plant species (a phenomenon known as allelopathy).
Osbourn lab investigates the molecular basis of interactions between plants
and other organisms, with particular emphasis on natural products and plant
Our primary interests are in understanding
the function and synthesis of plant-derived natural products
and the origins of metabolic diversity. This research impacts on other fundamental aspects of
biology such as chromosome structure and gene regulation, genome plasticity,
diversification of function of enzymes and multi-component pathways and
The Osbourn group
works with crop and model plants, using a wide range of multidisciplinary
approaches that include genetics, genomics, computational
biology, cell biology, protein and small molecule biochemistry.