SCRIPPS INSTITUTION OF OCEANOGRAPHY FACULTY CANDIDATE SEMINAR -
Marine Natural Products and Chemical Biology (joint hire with SSPPS)
DATE: January 27th, Monday, 3:30 p.m.
LOCATION: Eckart 227 (a chalk talk will be held 1/28 at noon in the Pharmaceutical Science Building HSEC #1)
SPEAKER: Daniel Petras
Scripps Institution of Oceanography &
TITLE: How do Natural Products Shape Ecosystems? - Illuminating the Ocean’s Community Metabolome
The chemical composition of natural products within the ocean’s community metabolome represent a fascinating source of chemical entities that are fundamentally important for understanding marine microbial community dynamics. In order to illuminate the molecular composition and dynamics in this ultra-complex mixture, we developed a non-targeted tandem mass spectrometry workflow that allows for a highly resolved and scalable analysis of small molecules in marine environments. In this talk, I will discuss some of these analytical developments by focusing on an environmental dataset collected as part of the California Current Ecosystem Long Term Ecological Research Program. Here, these tools allowed us to track the chemical shifts during a phytoplankton bloom and to prioritize molecular drivers for different stages of this bloom event. Ultimately, this analysis provides us with a connection of molecular families and microbial community members and shows how natural products structure marine environments. In order to gain a mechanistic understanding of the multitude of possible inter and intra-species interactions, I propose the development of a functional metabolomics approach and microbiome model system that allows for a rational and high-throughput testing of molecular functionality of small molecules. Such an approach would not only enable a systematic investigation and hypothesis testing of the functional role of natural products in marine ecosystems, but would further allow for a deliberate screening and prioritization of novel molecular targets and pharmaceutical leads from complex environmental samples.