Michael Phillips

  • Feb 18, 2019

Date & Location: February 18, 2019, at 4p; Room 101 Biochemistry Building

Subject: Isotopic labeling studies & the control of plant isoprenoid metabolism

Host: Bjoern Hamberger

About the Speaker

University: University of Toronto

Research Interests: The research in the Phillips lab focuses on the control of plant metabolism with an emphasis on terpenoid (isoprenoid) biosynthesis. Using biochemical, molecular, and metabolomics approaches, the objective of this research program is to understand the control points which determine how carbon flow into the various biosynthetic pathways of plants is regulated. 

Certain groups of natural products such as lipids and terpenoids are energy intensive, high value metabolites whose synthesis is tightly controlled by genetic programming, enzymatic activity, and the availability of substrates. These in turn are influenced by environmental and developmental factors which together restrict the resources channeled into these biotechnologically useful products in favor of the primary metabolic cycles necessary for normal plant growth, development, and reproduction. By identifying new mechanisms of control, this research program aims to redirect the flow of metabolic networks towards custom natural product synthesis. Considerable progress into the basic control mechanisms of plant metabolism is first necessary in order to exploit the full potential of plants as clean and sustainable sources of fuel, medicines, nutrients, and agrochemicals. The research in this lab is oriented towards uncovering these basic control mechanisms.