Board Member Profile
Wilfred van der Donk, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
600 S. Matthew Ave.
161 Roger Adams Laboratory
Box 38-5, NC-712
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Current Member of the Advisory Board
Discovery and Characterization of Antibiotics
Numerous reports of multi-drug resistant bacterial strains have appeared in recent years. Several bacterial strains may soon become immune to all commercially available antibiotics. It is evident that without a renewed focus on antibiotic research, we risk of returning to an era in which common infectious diseases are untreatable and deadly. The van der Donk group focuses on the discovery, mode of action, and mechanism of biosynthesis of two classes of antibiotics that are underexplored and have great potential for human therapeutic use: ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides and phosphonate antibiotics. Tremendous advances in DNA sequencing are providing exciting new opportunities in natural product discovery through genome mining, and the unique biosynthetic pathways of ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptides are well-suited for synthetic biology approaches.
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