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The Osbourn Lab



Plants 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 other applications.  

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). 

The Osbourn lab investigates the molecular basis of interactions between plants and other organisms, with particular emphasis on natural products and plant defence. 

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 adaptive evolution.  

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. 


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