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Genomics driven discover of new biologically active small molecules from New Zealand’s microbial communities Event as iCalendar

19 August 2019

1 - 2pm

Venue: Mac 1 Biology Building

Location: 5 Symonds St

Host: SBS

Contact info: Assoc. Prof. Paul Harris

Contact email:

Dr Jeremy Owen
Dr Jeremy Owen

Speaker:  Dr Jeremy Owen, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington


Hidden all around us are complex microbial communities in which myriad of bacterial species must compete with their foes and communicate with their brethren in order to survive. Interactions in these communities are mediated by secondary metabolites, a collection of small molecules whose structures and biological activities are vastly diverse. Beyond their natural roles, microbial secondary metabolites have been incredibly valuable as a source of antibiotics, anticancer agents, immunosuppressants, and many other compounds used in both medicine and basic research.

Dr Jeremy Owen’s research group uses DNA sequencing and data mining approaches to discover the genetic cassettes that direct secondary metabolite production. Dr Owen and colleagues then express these in a laboratory friendly hosts in order to unlock access to the compounds they encode. 

In this seminar, Dr Owen will discuss recent efforts to discover new biologically active secondary metabolites via sequencing the genomes of both cultivated and uncultivated microbes from a variety of New Zealand environments, including soils, lichens and marine sponges.

For more information please contact Assoc. Prof. Paul Harris (