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Constance B. Bailey

Assistant Professor of Chemistry, University of Tennessee

Constance Bailey began her academic career at Reed College, where she pursued research in natural products biochemistry as well as organic synthesis. Under the mentorship of Prof. Adrian Keatinge-Clay at UT Austin, her doctoral research focused on the biocatalytic applications of polyketide synthase enzymes. Following her Ph.D. she was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Jay Keasling at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focusing on developing synthetic biology applications of polyketide synthases as a "plug and play" platform to generate a range of valuable chemicals.

The focus of the Bailey laboratory will be accessing chemical transformations through biological means, both through engineering enzymes as biocatalysts as well as the organisms that host engineered biosynthetic pathways. Specifically, we seek to apply natural product biosynthetic enzymes, primarily polyketide synthases (PKSs), to generate valuable molecules such pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical intermediates, commodity chemicals, and specialty chemicals. PKSs are multi-domain enzymatic megasynthases that undergo sequential decarboxylative condensations followed by reductive processing. Because of their modular nature, PKSs can generate endless variations of metabolites that differ by the degree of branching and reduction of the carbon scaffold. The interdisciplinary research in my group will harness intellectual approaches from physical organic chemistry and enzymology to tune the biocatalytic transformations. It will also apply metabolic engineering to create strains to produce these chemicals.

Experience

  • 2018–present
    Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

Education

  • 2018 
    University of California Berkeley, NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 2016 
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • 2015 
    University of Texas at Austin, Doctorate of Philosophy

Publications

  • 2020
    Site Directed Mutagenesis as a Precision tool to Enable Synthetic Biology with Engineered Polyketide Synthases, Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology
  • 2020
    Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Modular Polyketide Synthase Ketoreductase Domains for Altered Stereochemical Control, ChemBioChem
  • 2020
    Chemoinformatic-Guided Engineering of Polyketide Synthases, Journal of the American Chemical Society
  • 2019
    Isolation and Characterization of Microbial Cellulase Producers for Biomass Deconstruction: a Microbiology Laboratory Course, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education
  • 2018
    Isolation and Characterization of Novel Mutations in the pSC101 origin that increase copy number, Scientific Reports
  • 2017
    ClusterCAD: a Computational Platform for Type I Polyketide Synthase Design, Nucleic Acid Reports
  • 2017
    Leveraging Microbial Biosynthetic Pathways for the Generation of ‘Drop In’ Biofuels, Current Opinion in Biotechnology
  • 2017
    Structural and Functional Trends in Dehydrating Bimodules from trans-Acyltransferase Polyketide Synthases, Structure
  • 2017
    Engineered Polyketides: Synergy Between Protein and Host Level Engineering, Synthetic and Systems Biotechnology
  • 2017
    Heterologous Gene Expression of N-Terminally Truncated Variants of LipPKS1 Suggests a Functionally Critical Structural Motif in the N-terminus of Modular Polyketide Synthases, ACS Chemical Biology
  • 2016
    Substrate Structure-Activity Relationships Guide Rational Engineering of Stereocontrol in Modular Polyketide Synthase Ketoreductases, Chemical Communications
  • 2014
    Mechanically Modulating the Photophysical Properties of Fluorescent Protein Biocomposites: New Classes of Ratio- and Intensiometric Sensors, Angewandte Chemie
  • 2013
    Harnessing Biomacromolecules for Force Responsive Materials, Polymer Chemistry
  • 2012
    Preparative in Vitro Biocatalysis of Triketide Lactone Chiral Building Block, ChemBioChem

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Biochemical and Computational Probing of Mutant-Biocatalyst Relationships in Polyketide Synthase Ketoreductases
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    University of Tennessee Science Alliance
  • 2018
    Chassis Optimization of Streptomyces Venezuelae for the Production of Thiotemplated Secondary Metabolites
    Role:
    PI
    Funding Source:
    National Institutes of Health

Professional Memberships

  • American Chemical Society