Project ESR1: Correlating evolutionary and chemical space using ChemGPS-NP.

PhD-fellow: Astrid Henz

Supervision: Prof. Anders Backlund

Host Institution: Department of Pharmacognosy, Uppsala University

Co-supervisors: Thierry Kogej, AstraZeneca

In this project in-house databases comprising taxonomically annotated chemical data will be expanded and used to test if there is a correlation between phylogenetic advancement of a taxon, and molecular and/or biosynthetic complexity and volume of the ChemGPS-NP chemical property space occupied by compounds retrieved from the database.

About the project
A longstanding hypothesis in phytochemistry is that among more advanced groups of angiosperms we would find more advanced chemistry. In this project we aim to understand the correlation between phylogenetic and chemical diversity.
The in-house database, comprising taxonomically annotated chemical data, will be expanded and used to test if there is a correlation between phylogenetic advancement of a taxon, and molecular and/or biosynthetic complexity and volume of the ChemGPS-NP chemical property space (Larsson et al., 2007). Novel information from traditional pharmacognosy will be generated, including collection, isolation and structure elucidation of chemosystematic markers.

The combination of the above named tools will help to develop and test predictive models for a more efficient exploration of the medicinal potential of higher plants.

Duration: 3 years – start March 1st 2014.