Virginia Tech™home

Emily Mevers

Assistant Professor
3103 Hahn Hall South

Research Interests

Naturally occurring small molecules (natural products) have long played a critical role in drug discovery with estimates that over 65% of all approved small molecule drugs are either natural products, derivatives, or contain the pharmacophore of a natural product. Some important examples include taxol (anticancer), rapamycin (immunosuppressive), and penicillin (antibiotic) - these drugs have saved countless lives and influenced healthcare outcomes worldwide. The potent and specific bioactivities of natural products is due to their intricate structures, which result from millions of years of evolutionary selection to fine tune their ecological roles. Beginning in Aug. 2020, my lab will use a function-first approach to discover novel natural products from underexplored environmental niches that self-select for production of biologically active small molecules. For example, we will investigate marine egg mass microbiomes to discover metabolites that deter predation and these compounds could serve as therapeutic leads to treat cancer and infections. We will also study small molecule electron shuttles that deep-sea hydrothermal vent bacteria use for respiration on solid mineral substrates and work to understand the chemical exchanges between pathogens and symbionts of hard coral. By studying the chemistry of ecological systems, we will uncover new bioactive natural products and unravel biological mysteries.

1.     Pishchany, G.; Mevers, E.; Ndousse-Fetter, S; Horvath, D. J.; Paludo, C. R.; Silva-Junior, E. A.; Koren, S.; Skaar, E. P.; Clardy, J.; Kolter, R. Amycomicin: a potent and specific antibiotic discovered with a targeted interaction screen Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, 115, 10124-10129.

2.     Mevers, E.; Su, L.; Pishchany, G.; Baruch, M.; Cornejo, J.; Hobert, E.; Dimise, E.; Ajo-Franklin, C. M.; Clardy, J. An elusive electron shuttle from a facultative anaerobe eLife 2019, 8, e48054.

3.     Puri, A. W.; Mevers, E.; Ramadhar, T. R.; Petras, D.; Liu, D.; Piel, J.; Dorrestein, P. C.; Greenberg, E. P.; Lidstrom, M. E.; Clardy, J. Tundrenone: an atypical secondary metabolite from bacteria with highly restricted primary metabolism J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140, 2002-2006.

4.     Mevers, E.; Sauri, J.; Liu, Y.; Moser, A.; Ramadhar, T.; Varlan, M.; Williamson, R. T.; Martin, G. E.; Clardy, J. Homodimericin A: a complex hexacyclic fungal metabolite J. Am. Chem. Soc.  2016, 138, 12324-12327.

  • American Society of Pharmacognosy Postdoctoral Research Fellow Travel Award, 2015
  • Teddy Traylor Award, 2013
  • David Carew Graduate Student Travel Award, 2013
  • Biochemistry of Growth Regulation and Oncogenesis NIH Trainee, 2011–2014
  • B.S. Chemistry, University of South Florida, 2009
  • M.S. Organic Chemistry, University of California San Diego, 2011
  • Ph.D. Organic Chemistry, University of California San Diego, 2014
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Harvard Medical School, 2014–2016
  • Research Associate, Harvard Medical School, 2017–2020