Chemistry Seminar Series

Wed, 19 Sep 2018

Dr. Sandra Loesgen

Oregon State University

Microbial natural products in drug discovery – from fungal gene activation to melanoma treatments

Wednesday, September 19, 2018
B9201 @ 3:30 p.m.

Host: Dr. Roger Linington


Over 50% of all current clinically approved drugs are derived from natural products. This list includes numerous drugs derived from the secondary metabolites of microorganisms, such as commonly used antibiotics like penicillin from Penicillium fungi and aminoglycosides from Streptomyces bacteria. Despite years of study, we have yet to exhaust the chemical diversity available in natural products.

In this seminar, I will introduce the research in the Loesgen Lab at OSU. First, I will focus on our efforts to access novel chemistry from filamentous fungi. Over 1000 fungal genomes have been sequenced recently. The high abundance of biosynthetic gene clusters encoding for secondary metabolites compared to the small number of compounds seen produced under standard laboratory conditions give reasonable hope for future natural products discoveries. I will present strategies and tools needed to access the silent fungal metabolome and show novel chemistry that we were able to access with Sex, Drugs, and Genetics!

Second, in our drug discovery program, we aim to screen for, identify, and develop new antibiotics, antivirals, and cytotoxic compound from microbial natural products. From our cancer program, I will share our insights into the mode of action of mensacarcin, a bacterial polyketide that induces apoptosis and impairs mitochondrial function selectively in melanoma.


Microbial natural products, secondary metabolites, filamentous fungi, silent fungal metabolome, antibiotics, antivirals, and cytotoxic compounds, bacterial polyketide, melanoma


Dr. Sandra Loesgen
Terence Bradshaw Chemistry Professor
Department of Chemistry
Oregon State University