Just recently, I had the privilege to listen in on a series of talks surrounding how synthetic biology can be integrated with natural products applications. It was an interesting series, and I learned much. I think the biggest takeaway I learned were the following points:
1. Natural products don’t always lead to a cure for something, but can yield insights into the mode of action of certain disease states. In other words, they can be used as a tool in basic biological research.
2. Synbio has great potential to help with expression and control of the enzymes that produce these natural products.
3. Genomics technologies will help us mine for the next wave of natural products.
4. Better analytical chemistry tools are needed to fish out the currently ‘hidden’ chemical scaffolds found in nature.
All in all, a great series of talks, and I learned quite a lot! It’ll be exciting and interesting to see how things fold out.