Natural products are the major source of drugs, spanning antibiotics, painkillers, and cancer therapies. Nature has a fascinating array of enzymes that create this incredible diversity at room temperature using water as the solvent. From a chemist’s point of view, biosynthetic enzymes are really just protein-based catalysts that have been exquisitely evolved to accomplish these amazing feats.
The Lowell group seeks to not only identify medicinally important new natural products, but also understand the biosynthetic pathways responsible for their production. The enzymes identified in these pathways can in turn be used as catalysts in chemical synthesis. We harness these biocatalysts to synthesize and derivatize complex natural products to create new and improved medicines.
Students can be trained in traditional organic and medicinal chemistry as well as natural products chemistry and will be exposed to molecular biology geared toward interrogating biosynthesis.
- Gannett, C., Banks, P., Chuong, C., Weger-Lucarelli, J., Mevers, E., Lowell, A. N. “Semisynthetic blasticidin S ester derivatives show enhanced antibiotic activity” RSC Med. Chem. 2023, 14, 782-789. DOI: 10.1039/D2MD00412G
- Breiner, L. M., McCord, J. P., Briganti, A., Heifitz, M., Philbrook, S., Slebodnick, C., Brown, A. M., Lowell, A. N. “Triazoles as pharmacophores to explore sidechain functionalization for expanded pleuromutilin derivatives” Tetrahedron Chem. 2022, 4, 100034. DOI: 10.1016/j.tchem.2022.100034
- McCord, J. P, Kohanov, Z. A., Lowell, A. N. “Thermorubin biosynthesis initiated by a salicylate synthase suggests an unusual conversion of phenols to pyrones.” ACS Chem. Biol. 2022, 17(11), 3169-3177. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.2c00606
- Lowell, A. N., DeMars II, M. D., Slocum, S. T., Yu, F., Anand, K., Chemler, J. A., Korakavi, N., Priessnitz, J. K., Hansen, D. A., Koch, A. A., Schultz, P. J., Sherman, D. H. “Chemoenzymatic diversification through late-stage polyketide assembly, tailoring, and C-H functionalization: The total synthesis of tylactone-based macrolide antibiotics” J. Amer. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139(23), 7913-7920. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b02875
- Travel Award, Future of Bioscience Graduate and Postdoctoral Training 2, 2017
- University of Michigan Outstanding Postdoctoral Award, 2014-2015
- Gardner Stacey Research Endowment, Washington State University, 2002-2003
- B.S. Chemistry, Washington State University, 2003
- M.S. Organic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2008
- Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, University of Pennsylvania, 2008
- Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, 2009-2012
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan, 2012-2018