Chemical Biology Program Retreat

Event Date

Granlibakken Tahoe

The Chemical Biology Program Retreat is a day of scientific talks by graduate students conducting research at the interface of chemistry and biology and features a student-invited keynote speaker from industry or academia. 

Visit for the tentative schedule and to register to attend.



Natural Products as Inspirations for Chemistry, Enzymology, and Drug Discovery

Ben Shen
Department of Chemistry, Department of Molecular Medicine, and Natural Products Library Initiative at The Scripps Research Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA


Natural products are among the best sources of drugs and drug leads and serve as outstanding small molecule probes for dissecting fundamental biological processes. Natural product biosynthesis continues to push the frontier of modern chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology by revealing novel chemical reactions, complex enzyme systems, and intricate regulatory mechanisms. The progress made in the last two decades in connecting natural products to the genes that encode their biosynthesis has fundamentally changed the landscape of natural products research and sparked the emergence of a suite of contemporary approaches to natural products discovery. Combinatorial biosynthesis has made it possible to produce designer analogues by rational metabolic pathway engineering. Genome mining has allowed targeted discovery natural product scaffolds by exploring the vast combinatorial biosynthesis repertoire found in Nature. Selected examples from our current research will be presented to showcase natural products as inspirations for novel chemistry, enzymology, and drug discovery.