A majority of antibiotics and drugs that we use in the clinic are derived or inspired from small organic molecules called Natural Products that are produced by living organisms such as bacteria and plants. Natural Products are at the forefront of fighting the global epidemic of antibiotic resistant pathogens, and keeping the inventory of clinically applicable pharmaceuticals stocked up. Some Natural Products are also potent human toxins and pollutants, and we need to understand how these toxins are produced to minimize our and the environmental exposure to them.
We as biochemists ask some simple questions- how and why are Natural Products produced in Nature, what we can learn from Natural Product biosynthetic processes, and how we can exploit Nature's synthetic capabilities for interesting applications?
Broadly, we are interested in questions involving (meta)genomics, biochemistry, structural and mechanistic enzymology, mass spectrometry, analytical chemistry, and how natural product chemistry dictates biology.
The Dreaden Lab uses molecular engineering to impart augmented, amplified, or non-natural function to tumor therapies and immunotherapies. The overall goal of our research is to engineer molecular and nanoscale tools that can (i) improve our understanding of fundamental tumor biology and (ii) simultaneously serve as cancer therapies that are more tissue-exclusive and patient-personalized. The lab currently focuses on three main application areas: optically-triggered immunotherapies, combination therapies for pediatric cancers, and nanoscale cancer vaccines. Our work aims to translate these technologies into the clinic and beyond.
Molecular Engineering, Tumor Immunity, Nanotechnology, Pediatric Cancer
Dr. Lindsey is interested in developing new imaging technologies for understanding biological processes and for clinical use.
In the Ultrasonic Imaging and Instrumentation lab, we develop transducers, contrast agents, and systems for ultrasound imaging and image-guidance of therapy and drug delivery. Our aim is to develop quantitative, functional imaging techniques to better understand the physiological processes underlying diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and tumor progression.
The application of quantitative techniques and mathematical modeling to plants in order to gain systems-level insight into their physiology and development, particularly to understanding how metabolic and gene regulatory networks interact to control growth.