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Watch Your Step, There Is New Chemistry Everywhere


Speaker: Sean F. Brady, Ph.D.

Tri-Institutional Professor and Evnin Professor Head

Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules

The Rockefeller University

Date: June 26, 2019 - 09:30 a.m. ET to 10:30 a.m. ET

Lipsett Amphitheater, NIH Clinical Center, NIH Campus, Bethesda, MD

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Event Description

The characterization of biologically active small molecules (natural products) produced by easily cultured bacteria has been a rewarding avenue for identifying novel therapeutics, as well as gaining insights into how bacteria interact with the world around them. Large-scale sequencing of bacterial genomic and metagenomic DNA indicates that the traditional pure culture–based approach to studying bacterial natural products has provided access only to a small fraction of the diverse metabolites encoded by environmental microbiomes. In particular, these studies suggest that in most environments, uncultured bacteria outnumber their cultured counterparts by at least two orders of magnitude. 

Although there appears to be no easy way to culture this collection of unstudied microorganisms, Dr. Brady has developed culture-independent methods to circumvent this discovery bottleneck. These methods involve the extraction, cloning, and heterologous expression of bacterial biosynthetic gene clusters directly from environmental samples. The speaker will discuss applying these methods to the identification of new antibiotics from the global soil microbiome as well as metabolites encoded by the human microbiome.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the identification of new antibiotics from the global soil microbiome.
  2. Learn about identification of metabolites encoded by the human microbiome.

Speaker Bio

Sean F. Brady, Ph.D., is Evnin and Tri-Institutional Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Genetically Encoded Small Molecules at The Rockefeller University. Funders of his research include the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Brady received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, studying under Jon Clardy, and completed postdoctoral work at Cornell as well as a fellowship at Harvard Medical School. He is the founder of Lodo Therapeutics. His honors include being named a Beckman Young Investigator, an Irma T. Hirschl Scholar, a Searle Scholar, and a recipient of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation’s Innovator and Breakthrough Awards.