Kou-San Ju, PhD
Dr. Ju is broadly interested in metabolic diversity of microbes and their application to solving modern day challenges in human health and the environment. Working at the interface of chemistry and biology, the Ju laboratory utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to conduct genomics-guided discovery of microbial natural products, decipher the molecular basis of their activity, and to reveal the genetic and biochemical principles governing their biosynthesis. In addition to obtaining insights into the evolution and function of natural product pathways, the results from these studies enable the development of new antibiotics and engineered biocatalysts with biotechnological applications.
Blake R. Peterson, PhD
Dr. Peterson’s research group is working to discover small molecules that affect the proliferation of cancer cells and associated immune cells that support malignancy. To find these compounds, the Peterson laboratory creates fluorescent molecular probes that are designed to facilitate drug discovery. These probes are used in conjunction with phenotypic drug discovery methods to identify both anticancer agents with novel mechanisms of action and their molecular targets. To optimize and evaluate these compounds, they use synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, and chemical biology approaches. These strategies, in conjunction with assays based on confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, and other fluorescence-based techniques, provide a platform for the identification of new therapeutic agents.