Faculty of Natural SciencesNews and events
Carolyn Lee-Parsons: Engineering the Production of Pharmaceuticals from Plants & Plant Tissue Cultures
08 Jun
08. Jun. 2022 | 17:00 - 18:30

Carolyn Lee-Parsons: Engineering the Production of Pharmaceuticals from Plants & Plant Tissue Cultures


Prof. Carolyn Lee-Parsons
Associate Professor, Departments of Chemical Engineering & Chemistry / Chemical Biology
Northeastern University, Boston, MA



Engineering the Production of Pharmaceuticals from Plants & Plant Tissue Cultures

In response to attack by pathogens, insects, or herbivores, plants strategically redirect their metabolic resources from growth and development towards the production of defense-related specialized metabolites. This induction of specialized metabolism is also carefully controlled to limit the costly expenditure of resources. The overall vision of our research is to elucidate how plants regulate the production of defense-related specialized metabolites towards engineering their increased biosynthesis in plants and plant tissue cultures.  

Our model system for studying the regulation of defense-related specialized metabolism is the Madagascar periwinkle or the Catharanthus roseus. We chose C. roseus since it produces medicinally-valuable terpenoid indole alkaloids (TIAs), including the anti-cancer compounds vinblastine and vincristine.  These TIAs are produced upon herbivory and the plant deploys sophisticated mechanisms for the transcriptional regulation of its biosynthesis. TIA biosynthesis consists of ~30 enzymatic steps distributed across multiple cell types. The regulation of TIA biosynthesis is similarly complex as multiple transcription factors are required to coordinate the expression of multiple branches of the TIA pathway. In this talk, I will present the role of repressors in the regulatory network and how we devise strategies to reprogram the cell and thus to enhance the production of TIAs.



Das Plant Science Colloquium dient dem regelmäßigen Wissensaustausch im Bereich Pflanzenwissenschaften. Nationale und internationale Sprecher berichten auf dieser Plattform über hochaktuelle Forschungsergebnisse und Methoden. Die Vorträge werden auf Englisch gehalten.


08. Jun. 2022
17:00 - 18:30

Contact Name

Prof. Dr. Hans-Peter Braun
Sprecher des ZAP
Tel.: +49 511 762 2674


Campus Herrenhausen
Building: 4105
Room: F005
Blaue Grotte
Herrenhäuser Straße 2
30419 Hannover
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