Directing Biosynthesis V

22 - 24 March 2017, Warwick, United Kingdom

Natural products produced predominantly by microorganisms and plants have inspired the development of many blockbuster drugs, crop protection agents and other high value chemicals.  Biosynthetic research is strategically important commercially but also to society as a whole and will continue to help address emerging challenges in health, the environment and sustainability on a global scale.
While this multidisciplinary field is driven by genetic and associated technological advances, chemistry remains the central focus with key input from the fields of organic chemistry, enzymology, biochemistry and ecology
Directing Biosynthesis V will be the fifth in a successful series of meeting and will represent a significant opportunity for scientists interested in the biosynthesis of natural products to hear more about developments in the field, network and present their own work during poster sessions and talks


  • Enzymology and Structural Biology
  • Pathway engineering
  • Natural products discovery: ­ a response to AMR
  • Biosynthesis of cell walls / targets for antimicrobials
  • Chemical ecology
Eric Brown, McMaster University, Canada

Eric Brown is a Professor at McMaster University in Canada.  He is interested in the complex biology that underlies bacterial survival strategies. His team uses tools of genetics, bacterial physiology and chemical biology to understand and subvert these systems where the ultimate goal is to provide fresh directions for new antibiotics.

Joe Chappell, University of Kentucky, United States

Dr. Chappell joined the University of Kentucky in 1985 with current responsibilities to lead a discovery research program, as well as provide leadership for the Pharmaceutical Sciences Department in the College of Pharmacy.  He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, followed by postdoctoral training in Germany.

Zixin Deng, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China

Deng Zixin, Professor of Microbiology and Chemical Biology´╝îthe current President of Chinese Society of Microbiology. He is a Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the World Academy of Sciences (formally the Third World Academy of Sciences, TWAS), and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. He was born in Hubei Province, China in 1957. He received his Bs degree on microbiology from Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China, in 1982, and a PhD degree on microbial genetics from the University of East Anglia, UK, in 1987, while working in Streptomyces group at John Innes Centre. Major interest is on Streptomyces genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology of antibiotic biosynthesis, and DNA backbone modification by sulfur (phosphorothiolation). He now acts as associate editor for ACS Chemical Biology, and as member of editorial boards for a number of journals including Cell Chemical Biology, Applied & Environmental Microbiology (ASM).

Chang-jiang Dong, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom

Prof. Changjiang Dong obtained his Ph.D in Chemical Biology and Protein Crystallography at University of St. Andrews at Prof. James Naismith group in 2003, whilst started his postdoctoral researches in group. He was promoted to a senior postdoctoral researcher in 2005, and was appointed as an EASTCHEM fellow in 2007 at St. Andrews. In 2008, he obtained the Wellcome Trust Career Development Fellowship to start his own research group at University of St. Andrews. His research areas are in emerging viruses and multi-drug resistant bacteria. In 2012, Prof. Dong took a chair position as Professor of Molecular Medicine at the Norwich Medical School at University of East Anglia. In 2014, he was awarded Wellcome Trust Investigator Award to study Gram-negative bacteria outer membrane biogenesis and assembly. In 2015, He won the Times Higher Education Research Project of Year.

Olga Genilloud, Fundación MEDINA, Spain

Olga Genilloud is Scientific Director at Fundación MEDINA and Head of the Microbiology department. She has a PhD in Chemistry (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics) from the Universidad Complutense  and has worked in the production and biosynthesis of bacterial secondary metabolites in the academia (Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Madrid; Harvard Medical School, Boston) and more than 19 years in industrial drug discovery (Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Labs Spain).
Her main research interests are focused on the production of novel microbial natural products, the exploration of novel microbial diversity to deliver novel chemistry, and the development of molecular and chemical tools to support natural products drug discovery.

Ian Graham, University of York, United Kingdom

Ian is Head of the Department of Biology ( and holds the Weston Chair of Biochemical Genetics at the University of York. His research team is based in the Biology Department’s Centre for Novel Agricultural Products ( During his career Ian has made major contributions to our understanding of plant metabolism and seed biology. Transformative research published in high impact journals has shed new light on the production of small molecule natural products from plants such as the anti-cancer compound noscapine, morphinan-based analgesics such as codeine and morphine and the antimalarial drug artemisinin. He led the way in the genetic dissection of lipid mobilization in Arabidopsis oilseeds and most recently has discovered a role for oxylipins in controlling seed germination. Ian also leads the BBSRC funded High Value Chemicals from Plants Network in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy ( Funding for Ian’s research comes from a range of sources including industry, UK Government including BBSRC, EU, UK and overseas charities.
In 2016 Ian was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) and as a new European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) Member. He has also been awarded the Biochemical Society’s 2017 Heatley Medal and Prize.

Andrew Gulick, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, United States

Andrew Gulick is a Principal Research Scientist at the Hauptman-Woodward Institute. His research uses enzymology, chemical biology, and structural biology to explore natural product biosynthesis. His lab is also interested in the design and characterization of inhibitors of the enzymes involved in bacterial virulence factor production.

Tomohisa Kuzuyama, University of Tokyo, Japan

Tomohisa Kuzuyama completed his PhD under supervision of Professor Haruo Seto at University of Tokyo (UTokyo) in 1995. Later, he was appointed Assistant Professor at IMCB, UTokyo, where he began to study the MEP pathway for terpenoid biosynthesis. He is currently Associate Professor of BRC, UTokyo. His current research interests aim at understanding biosynthesis of diverse natural products.

Andreas Peschel, University of Tubingen, Germany

Andreas Peschel studied Biology in Bochum and Tübingen, Germany, and obtained Diploma and PhD degrees in Microbiology. He held postdoctoral positions in the labs of Friedrich Götz in Tübingen and of Jos van Strijp in Utrecht (The Netherlands) focusing on Staphylococcus aureus cell wall and host/pathogen interaction. After a period as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Biology he accepted a call to the Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Department as a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Microbiology in Tübingen. His lab studies staphylococcal colonization, infection, and immune evasion mechanisms.


Joern Piel, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Joern Piel is a Professor at at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, studying natural product biosynthesis in bacteria at the chemical, enzymatic, and genetic level. Research focus of his lab is the metabolism of uncultivated and symbiotic bacteria, the investigation and utilization of new biosynthetic enzymology, and genome-based methods of natural product discovery.

Esther Schmitt, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Switzerland

Esther Schmitt is Head of the microbiology group in the Natural Products Unit of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Basel. The expertise in induction of secondary metabolism, synthetic biology and biosynthetic pathways is used to discover novel natural products and to support pre-clinical research projects in anti-infectives, immunology, metabolism and oncology.


Tanja Schneider , University of Bonn, Germany

Tanja Schneider studied biology and obtained her P.h.D in 2004, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Bonn, Germany and Novozymes A/S, Denmark. In 2015 she was appointed Professor of Pharmaceutical Microbiology at the University Bonn. Her main research focus is on the biosynthesis of the bacterial cell envelope as a target for novel antibiotics.

Janet Smith, University of Michigan, United States

Janet Smith studies the structure and function of natural product biosynthetic pathways and the activity and selectivity of enzymes that catalyze unusual biosynthetic reactions.  She is Margaret J. Hunter Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences and Professor of Biological Chemistry at the University of Michigan, and Scientific Director of GM/CA@APS, a macromolecular crystallography facility at the Argonne synchrotron.

Craig Townsend, John Hopkins University, United States

Craig Townsend was born in Chicago and was an undergraduate at Williams College. After receiving his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale, he held an International Exchange Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich and joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1976 where he is currently the Alsoph H. Corwin Professor of Organic Chemistry.


Wilfred van der Donk , University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States

Wilfred van der Donk was born in the Netherlands and received his B.S. and M.S. at Leiden University. He obtained his Ph.D. at Rice University, and after postdoctoral work at MIT with JoAnne Stubbe, joined the University of Illinois in 1997. Since 2008, he is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

John Vederas, University of Alberta, Canada

John Vederas received his B.Sc. in Chemistry at Stanford University and obtained his Ph.D. at M.I.T. in organic synthesis with the late George Büchi. Postdoctoral studies with Christoph Tamm (Basel) and Heinz Floss (Purdue) led to a continuing interest in biosynthesis and enzyme mechanisms, especially for fungal polyketides and bioactive peptides.

Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts

Submit an oral/paper abstract if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation. The oral abstract should outline current research in progress and the deadline for submission is now closed.

Poster Abstracts - extended deadline 

Submit your poster abstract by 15 January 2017. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 4 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation.
We offer grants of up to £800 to assist with travel expenses to participate at this meeting. These are available to members who are PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians) within 10 years of leaving full time education. 

We also have a limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 for PhD and early career scientists travelling within their home country. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis.

Please note that we recommend you submit your application a minimum of three months before you need a decision. We will be unable to consider any applications received within 8 weeks of the start of the conference (25 January 2017)
Sponsors & Exhibitors
A selection of sponsorship opportunities are available for companies who would like to promote their activities at Directing Biosynthesis.
As well as booking a table top exhibition space, there are opportunities to sponsor social events, advertise in the abstract book or place a promotional item in delegate packs. A sponsorship menu document is available to download from this page with more details and prices.
Please note that exhibition spaces are limited, spaces will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
If you would like more information about sponsoring Directing Biosynthesis, please contact the Commercial Sales Department at the Royal Society of Chemistry on


We are very pleased to announce that Biopharma Group  and LGC will be exhibiting at this event. Sponsorship Menu
University of Warwick

University of Warwick, The Oculus, Warwick, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom

The conference venue will be the University of Warwick's new Oculus building on the main campus and conference accommodation is available to book nearby.

Directions to the main campus:

From The North

From the M69/M6 interchange (M6 Junction 2) take the A46 towards Warwick and Coventry South and East.
After about 3.5 miles you’ll reach Toll Bar End roundabout (at the junction with the A45). At the roundabout, follow the signs for A45 Birmingham.
After about 3 miles you’ll cross the A429 (Kenilworth Road). Half a mile after this junction, take the left-hand turn signposted 'University of Warwick'.
Follow the signs for University of Warwick (and Warwick Arts Centre) across two roundabouts. You’ll reach the University of Warwick from Kirby Corner Road.

From The South East

From the M45 Junction 1 take the A45 towards Coventry.
After about 3.5 miles you’ll reach Toll Bar End roundabout (at the junction with the A45). At the roundabout, follow the signs for A45 Birmingham.
After about 3 miles you’ll cross the A429 (Kenilworth Road). Half a mile after this junction, take the left-hand turn signposted 'University of Warwick'.
Follow the signs for University of Warwick (and Warwick Arts Centre) across two roundabouts. You’ll reach the University of Warwick from Kirby Corner Road.

From The South

From M40 Junction 15 take the A46 towards Coventry.
After about 8 miles, leave the A46 at the junction signposted 'University of Warwick and Stoneleigh'.
After 1.5 miles you’ll cross the A429 (Kenilworth Road). You’ll reach the University of Warwick from Gibbet Hill Road.

From The West

From the M42 Junction 6 take the A45 towards Coventry.
After about 9 miles you’ll pass a large Sainsbury’s supermarket on your left. At the next roundabout (with a fire station on your right) take the right-hand exit, signposted 'University and Canley'.
Follow the signs for University of Warwick (and Warwick Arts Centre) across two roundabouts. You’ll reach the University of Warwick from Kirby Corner Road.

By Rail


Coventry is the most convenient train station for most visitors to the Warwick Conferences. It’s served by trains from London Euston, Birmingham (New Street and International) and Leicester. From Coventry station, it’s easy to get a taxi (around £10, 15 minutes) or bus (see below) to us.

Canley and Tile Hill

Canley (1.3 miles, a 25-minute walk) and Tile Hill (2.2 miles, a 45-minute walk) train stations are both served by trains from London, Milton Keynes, Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, Coventry, Rugby and Northampton. Neither station has a taxi rank, so if you don’t want to walk, book a taxi in advance.

Leamington Spa

Leamington Spa train station (9.5 miles) is served by trains from Birmingham, Coventry, Oxford, Reading and London Marylebone. You can get a bus to us (see below) from close to the station.

By Bus

There are regular buses to us from Coventry and Leamington Spa. Get off the bus at the:
  • Westwood stop for Arden
  • Main University stop for Conference Park
  • Gate House stop for Scarman and Radcliffe.


The 11 and 12 bus routes both serve Warwick Conferences. A single costs £1.90, a Day Saver (return) costs £3.90. You’ll need to have the right money as bus drivers don’t give change. Both buses call at the Rail Station Bridge SD stop on Warwick Road - a one-minute walk from Coventry station
Accommodation will be available to book directly with Warwick Conferences from this page.  Bookings cannot be taken after Thursday 9 March 2017

Bed and breakfast is £50.00 per room per night. The bedrooms are single en-suite study bedrooms and the rate includes:
  • Single bedded room with a bathroom to include a bath with a shower over
  • Towels and toiletries – changed daily if required.
  • Tea and coffee making facilities
  • Hairdryer
  • Hard wired and Wi-Fi internet connection
  • Access to the sports centre
  • Full buffet breakfast to include both continental and cooked options
  • Car parking

How to book car parking

Free car parking is provided at Warwick University for all event attendees. You must obtain a permit and display this in your car whilst on site. Failure to do so might result in your car being clamped by the enforcement team and the Royal Society of Chemistry cannot take any responsibility for this. Please follow the car parking booking link on this page to register your vehicle and print your permit.

Book accommodation at Warwick University Single occupancy single B&B bedroom (rate is per night) £50

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