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Franklin Gong

Mentor: Sijin Li


Vanderbilt University – Bachelor of Engineering (in Chemical Engineering/Double Major in Chemistry/Minor in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2014-2018

Awards and Honors

  • Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholar

Research Experience:

  • Research Intern, Urgun-Demirtas Bioprocesses Group, Argonne National Laboratory
  • UG Researcher, Lippmann Neurovascular Engineering and Therapeutic Design Lab, Vanderbilt
  • UG Researcher, Chemical Synthesis Core, Vanderbilt

Current Research Activities:

Plant natural products (PNPs) are a large class of distinct small molecules produced by the plant secondary metabolism which have ubiquitous utility as medicinal and commodity products. Due to the long growth time, low yield, and environmental consequences of harvesting large volumes of plant biomass, there is a significant incentive to produce these valuable compounds in microbial hosts. However, very few of the metabolic pathways which produce these PNPs in nature are fully characterized. My research focuses on elucidating these biosynthetic mechanisms in order to advance our knowledge of plant reaction chemistry and create a platform for the bioproduction of PNPs in microbial hosts. This will be done by transcriptome mining live plant samples in order to identify genes associated with the production of target PNPs, expressing these candidate genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, utilizing metabolomics analyses to characterize the pathway enzymes and metabolic intermediates, and finally reconstructing the entire biosynthetic pathway.

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