Current developments in synthetic biology have offered tools to design or modify organisms that can be used for a specific function, allowing for natural biological systems to be tailored as machines that produce desired compounds. Further, synthetic biology has a broad application and can be used to synthesize biologically relevant compounds and therapeutics that are not easily and/or not cost-effectively produced in a traditional laboratory setting. There is also an immense capability to scale-up production of said compounds using bioreactors and other platforms specific for growing microorganisms. Synthetic biology has the potential to accelerate the field of drug development by introducing tools and resources that can readily and efficiently produce desired compounds that are more cost effective.
The primary goal of this topic is to apply synthetic biology to produce and fully characterize both known and novel analogs of naturally occurring compounds to increase the diversity of compounds in drug libraries. We are primarily interested in proposals focused on discovery, isolation and characterization of non-addictive natural compounds to treat pain, opioid abuse disorders and overdose. Other critical areas for therapeutic drug development will be considered pending strong scientific justification.