Angelica Caserio
Cohort: 2021

Phosphonates, characterized by their stable carbon-phosphorus bond, are an underexploited class of compounds which have found commercial success in the biomedical and agricultural industries. Their bioactivity is mediated through the chemical mimicry of phosphate esters and carboxylic acids and subsequent inhibition of critical pathways. Many phosphonates are natural products, and their biosynthesis is widely distributed amongst bacteria. The first step in almost all phosphonate biosynthesis is catalyzed by the enzyme phosphoenolpyruvate mutase, making the encoding gene, pepM, an effective genetic marker for genome mining. Using this approach, my thesis work will concentrate on identifying and characterizing novel phosphonates with the end goal of developing new drugs and agricultural products.