Microorganisms represent the largest trove of genetic and metabolic diversity in the world. They are responsible for producing a vast array of chemically diverse natural product small molecules. The unique biological and chemical properties of many of these compounds have afforded many valuable applications throughout medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. Most critically, microbial natural products represent the largest source of antibiotics in use today. Here, we cover the biology behind the chemistry of these molecules and their role in human medicine.
This capstone course is organized into four distinct modules. First, we examine the different classes of natural products through the lens of biosynthesis -- how the molecules are constructed and diversify. Second, we focus on their function -- not only as antibiotics against human pathogens (mode of action and resistance) but also their proposed functions for the producing organisms. Third, we explore the methods and challenges in natural product discovery and how genomics is revolutionizing the field. This will include the impact of microbial natural products in industrial biotechnology. The final section of the class is dedicated to covering the most recent and significant developments in the field through student research presentations on select topics.
For more information, please visit our course listing page: M5194