Dr. David Cole Stevens
Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy
Faser Hall 407
- Ph.D. University of Ottawa, Canada
- Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy
- Assistant Research Professor in the Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Career Highlights: David Cole Stevens received his Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Northwestern State University in 2006 and his Ph.D. in chemistry under the supervision of Christopher N. Boddy from the University of Ottawa in 2011. His graduate research focused on the heterologous production of the antibiotic oxytetracycline, natively produced by Streptomyces rimosus, using non-native bacterial hosts Myxococcus xanthus and Escherichia coli. As a postdoctoral fellow in Richard E. Taylor laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, he assisted in the characterization of the biosynthetic pathway for gephyronic acid, an inhibitor of eukaryotic protein synthesis produced by Cystobacter violaceus. As a postdoc in Adrian T. Keatinge-Clay group at the University of Texas at Austin in 2014-2016, Cole contributed to the characterization of embedded methyltransferase domains from a variety of polyketide biosynthetic pathways. He began his independent research career the summer of 2016 at the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacognosy.
Interests: My research program focuses on using natural product biosynthetic pathways to uncover unknown areas of chemical diversity and discover potential therapeutics. Natural products remain an exemplary source for therapeutics. In 2014, 25% of approved small-molecule drugs were natural products or derived from natural products. We envision our contribution to modern pharmacognosy as a multidisciplinary area of research that encompasses advanced microbiology to culture and cultivate non-typical bacteria, molecular biology to extract and exploit biosynthetic pathways from bacterial genomes, biochemistry to isolate and investigate enzymes from discovered biosynthetic pathways, and chemistry to appreciate and access the amazing chemical diversity supplied by Nature. In particular my group has a specific interest in natural products from “uncultivable” or “difficult” bacteria, as these are a yet untapped reservoir of new bioactive natural products. Students participating in our group will develop a diverse skill set and become independent researchers capable of working with bacterial natural products from genomic characterization to isolated molecule.