Natural Products

Natural Products

Microbial systems are in the forefront of the strategies for the discovery of novel molecules. The natural products of these organisms have an enormous structural diversity that results in a Janus-faced range of activities: at times important in the pharmaceutical scope, yet also being hazardous to life.
Natural Products
Illustration: Canva

This session will involve the microbial secondary metabolome and its effect on microbial interactions. Specifically, it aims to promote the discussion of the many aspects of microbial natural products like

  • cloning and characterization of the natural product biosynthetic machinery
  • prediction of yet-to-be isolated novel compounds
  • as well as the generation of new molecules by combinatorial biosynthesis.

Dr. Manuel Liebeke —​ Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen, Germany

Portrait of Manuel Liebeke Portrait of Manuel Liebeke Image: Manuel Liebeke


Group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Department of Symbiosis

He and his group study metabolic interactions between microbes and marine organisms living in symbiosis. His team uses the high-resolution mass spectrometry imaging to reveal the spatial metabolome of microbial systems. His team is keen on the development of innovative technology to visualize molecules across tissues and microbial communities. This includes combinatorial study of mass spectrometry imaging data with other imaging techniques such as micro-computed tomography and fluorescence microscopy.

Natural Products I session
March 29, 1:15–2:00 pm CEST

Prof. Jörn Piel —​ ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Portrait of Jörn Piel Portrait of Jörn Piel Image: Jörn Piel

Professor and leader of the Bacterial Natural Products group at the Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich

Jörn Piel studied Chemistry at the University of Bonn, Germany, and obtained a PhD in 1998 (advisor: Wilhelm Boland). After a postdoctoral project with Bradley S. Moore and Heinz G. Floss he became a group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, in 2000. From 2004—2013 he was a C3/W2 professor in Bioorganic Chemistry at the University of Bonn and from 2013 a full professor at the Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich. His lab works at the interface of Chemistry and Biology and studies bacterial specialized metabolism with an emphasis on microbial and biosynthetic 'dark matter', symbiosis, marine natural products, biosynthetic engineering, and chemical ecology.

Natural Products II session
March 31, 3:30–4:15 pm CEST