University of Missouri
Discovering plant metabolic and chemical diversity using phylobiochemistry
Plants are the best chemists on Earth and can produce hundreds of thousands of structurally diverse metabolites that serve various roles in plants but have also been co-opted by humans to serve medicinal and industrial roles. Yet, the evolution of the biochemical pathways leading to chemical diversity are not well understood.
The goals of the lab is to understand the metabolic innovations potentiating the evolution of plant chemical diversity. Then, apply these metabolic innovations to increase crop resilience or to enhance production of medicinal plant metabolites using synthetic biology platforms. To accomplish these goals, the lab uses a combination of biochemistry, analytical chemistry, comparative transcriptomics, and phylogenetic techniques to frame metabolic diversity in an evolutionary context. Read more about ongoing projects on the research page.
Spring 2023: The Schenck Lab attends ASPB MW and Conor and Will both win Best Undergraduate Talk Awards for their amazing talks!
Spring 2023: Lily Nowack joins the group as our first PhD student!
Fall 2022: Two more undergraduate students have joined the group, Paige Thompson and Emma Waller
May 2022: Craig's postdoc work is published in Plant Physiology: "Natural variation meets synthetic biology: promiscuous trichome-expressed acyltransferases from Nicotiana"
February 2022: new preprint out from Craig's postdoc work: "Natural variation meets synthetic biology: promiscuous trichome expressed acyltransferases from Nicotiana acuminata"
December 2021: Review article published in Plant Molecular Biology with co-author Luke Busta - "Using interdisciplinary, phylogeny-guided approaches to understand the evolution of plant metabolism"
Conor, Craig, and Will at ASPB MW meeting, Ames, Iowa 2023
Where you can find us:
We are located in the Biochemistry Department Schweitzer Hall Room 213