Dr Michael Stephenson

I am a chemist, with a background in natural product total synthesis, medicinal chemistry and pharmacy. In the Osbourn group we are interested in plant secondary metabolites and this places us at the very interface between biology and chemistry. I bring skills in small molecule extraction, purification and structural characterisation, which strengthens the group’s ability to functionally characterise biosynthetic enzymes through transient expression in plant and yeast platforms.

This aids the exploration of potential gene clustering in the evolution of plant biosynthetic pathways, and the use of these enzymes towards a synthetic biology approach to the preparative production of high value chemicals. I am also personally interested in utilising this growing tool kit of enzymes to introduce useful handles for further modification of plant secondary metabolites by synthetic chemistry, with a view to screen for medicinal relevant biological activity. I also have a keen interest in public outreach. I have been involved in supervising work experience placements and school visits, and was part of a team representing OpenPlant at this year’s Latitude festival in Suffolk.