Sheryl Tsai, Ph.D.

Title
Professor
Department
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Institution
University of California, Irvine
Address
2218 Natural Sciences I
City, State, Zip
Irvine, CA 92617
Phone
(949) 824-4486
E-mail
sctsai[at]uci.edu
Website
http://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=4944
Research Field
Structural Biology; Chemical Biology
Award Year
2006

Research

Nature has a unique approach to generate a huge variety of natural products in a combinatorial fashion. The biosynthesis of these compounds is often accomplished by multi-domain enzyme mega-complexes with remarkable architectures. The goal of the my lab is to understand the sequence-structure-function relationship of these multi-domain complexes, so that we may biosynthesize chemically complex natural products in an efficient fashion. Our research is highly inter-disciplinary: in terms of chemistry, our research leads to libraries of de novo natural product analogs in a combinatorial fashion with high yield and efficiency; in terms of biology, our research will help understand the architecture and catalysis of these enzyme complexes. Techniques utilized include organic synthesis, combinatorial biosynthesis, molecular cloning, enzymology, bioinformatics and X-ray crystallography. The elucidation of molecular features that govern natural product biosynthesis will help us understand how natural products are made and evolved in nature, and will enable rational design of de novo natural products for drug discovery.