Roughly half of the drugs in clinical use today started as natural products — molecules that evolved inside microorganisms and plants that form the backbone of antibiotics, anti-cancer agents and other medicines.

Over the past decade, the University of Michigan has become a leader in natural product sciences. 

The LSI's Natural Products Discovery Core has developed a 40,000-sample (and growing) library of natural product extracts derived from a unique collection of diverse marine and terrestrial actinomycetes, fungi and cyanobacteria. The core provides researchers at U-M and external partners with the technology and expertise to develop candidates identified through high-throughput screening into unique, bioactive, patentable, small molecules.

Rapid genomic and metabolomic profiling allows users identify high value molecules as probes and drug leads.

Recent investments by the U-M Biosciences Initiative will add state-of-the art mass spectrometry and NMR resources for structure elucidation, as well as the recruitment of new faculty and specialists.

Announcements

September 25, 2019

This summer, NPDC researchers Amy Fraley, Andrew Robertson and Ashu Tripathi led a group of U-M undergraduates through entire process of drug development, from environmental collection at the U-M Biological Station, to laboratory extraction, analysis, and eventual application. Learn more about what they accomplished.

September 13, 2019

The Natural Products Biosciences Initiative is currently seeking outstanding discovery scientists to fill two positions; one at the rank of Assistant Professor, and one at the Associate Professor or Full Professor level. We are particularly interested in applications with a focus on natural products research relating to synthetic biology, and the microbiome link to human health and disease. 

August 1, 2019

Welcome to Andrew Robertson, our new Post-Doctoral Research Associate. Andrew will be working with the NPDC on new drug discovery projects, starting with the two MDD projects awarded this month. He joins us from the Sherman Lab where he has worked for the past two years. 

July 23, 2019

Michigan Drug Discovery has awarded funding of two projects, which will utilize the services of the NPDC. The first project award went to Daniel Lawrence, Frederick G.L. Huetwell Professor of Basic Research in Cardiovascular Medicine in the Medical School, to discover novel natural products therapeutics for treating fibrotic diseases. The second project award went to James Moon, John Gideon Searle Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy, to identify defined natural products to help activate the innate immune system as an anti-tumor response. 

May 21, 2019

Welcome to our new Program Co-ordinator, Jennifer Soules! She'll be working with the NPDC and Natural Products initiative to support a exciting new and productive natural products drug discovery program at U-M.