Dr Alistair Brown

Alistair Brown

Dr Alistair Brown

FOCUS: Discovery and development of novel antibiotic solutions.

 

My research primarily focuses on finding, characterising, and utilising bacterial enzymes in the development of novel biotechnological applications. Throughout my PhD, I worked extensively on a flexible and elegant enzyme called BpsA (blue pigment synthetase A), which as the name suggests synthesises a blue pigment from two molecules of glutamine. I used BpsA as a reporter in a range of biosensors that have commercial applications in the detection of glutamine and ATP.  

I’m also interested in the antibiotic resistome and understanding how primordial enzymes with limited activity can rapidly evolve to be strong resistance elements. To study this phenomenon, I use a combination of functional metagenomic screening and directed evolution, a powerful tool that enables us to apply Darwinian evolution principles at a single gene level. More recently, I’ve become interested in the discovery and combinatorial biosynthesis of nucleosides - bioactive compounds with antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities. I’m seeking to build a synthetic biology pipeline that can rapidly produce hundreds of different nucleoside analogues with interesting bioactive properties.  

When I’m not in the laboratory I enjoy getting out mountain biking on the Wellington trails and playing Dota 2, poorly. 


 

Degrees

  • PhD, Biotechnology

          Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, NZ

  • BSc (Hons), Cell and Molecular Bioscience

          Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, NZ