BioPACIFIC MIP Research: SET 1 - Bioderived Materials
What is your research focus?
The overall objective of my research project is to use micro-crystal electron diffraction (MicroED) to identify novel natural products from marine fungi that exhibit selective cytotoxicity against solid tumor cell lines from cancers with low 5-year survival rates. Sequencing and analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters is performed in parallel with isolation and identification efforts which aid in the dereplication of known natural products and advance knowledge of fungal biosynthetic pathways. Discovery of novel bio-derived molecular scaffolds, identification of their gene-clusters and associated enzymatic activity could potentially give rise to new bio-sourced monomers which would support BioPACIFIC MIP’s mission to sustainably produce next-generation, non-petroleum based, functionalized polymers.
What excites you about NSF BioPACIFIC MIP?
My love for natural products began at CSUDH where I was trained to isolate and identify unknown compounds in a natural products drug discovery lab. I worked in that lab for four years and would often become frustrated from the slow pace of discovery. I spent a good portion of my time there working on an HPLC, Mass Spectrometer and a 400MHz NMR. When the HPLC was down, which was often, I turned to traditional column chromatography and TLC to separate botanical extracts. I enjoyed separating compounds in this fashion, but somewhere along the way I realized that we were working in the past; I wanted to this for the rest of my life, I wanted to be in the future of natural products. I know that the best way to mastery is through mentorship, access to experts in the field, and exposure to new ideas and methods that lie in on the periphery of natural products research; this program offers all of these. A fellowship with BioPACIFIC MIP perfectly aligns with my skills and interests.