ChE Seminar – “Discovery and Engineering Plant Chemistry for Plant and Human Health” by Dr. Elizabeth Sattely (Stanford University)

Host: Dr. Benjamin Keith Keitz


Plants produce an impressive array of molecules important for both plant and human health. The discovery of biosynthetic pathways for plant natural products has classically been a slow process; as a consequence, few complete pathways are known and even fewer have been engineered. New plant genome sequences and synthetic biology tools have opened the door to three transformative research areas under investigation in my lab: 1) Identifying the minimum set of enzymes required to make known plant-derived molecules and non-natural derivatives through metabolic engineering, and 2) discovering new molecules from plants, and 3) developing new strategies to sustainably enhance plant fitness. In this talk, I will describe some of our recent efforts to accelerate the discovery and engineering of complete plant pathways for known and novel molecules, not only in the model plant Arabidopsis but also in non-model plants.


Elizabeth Sattely is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Stanford and a Stanford ChEM-H Faculty Fellow. She also serves as an Honorary Adjunct Staff Scientist at the Carnegie Institution of Science. Dr. Sattely completed her graduate training at Boston College in organic chemistry and her postdoctoral studies in biochemistry at Harvard Medical School where she worked on natural product biosynthesis in bacteria. Inspired by human reliance on plants and plant-derived molecules for food and medicine, the Sattely laboratory is focused on the discovery and engineering of plant metabolic pathways to make molecules that can enhance human and plant health. Work in the Sattely lab has been recognized by an NIH New Innovator Award, a DOE Early Career Award, an HHMI-Simons Faculty Scholar Award, and a AAAS Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences.

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