Laboratory Manager/Administrator: Rhonda Pautler
The central goal of research in the Balskus group is to discover, understand, and manipulate microbial metabolism. The vast majority of life on Earth is microbial, and the survival of these organisms in diverse habitats and complex communities requires chemical innovation. Understanding microbial metabolism at the molecular level is essential, as the metabolic functions of these organisms shape the environment, influence human health, and provide us with medicinally and industrially useful molecules.
The Balskus lab is uncovering new metabolic pathways and enzymes in microbial genome sequencing data, focusing on enzymes that perform interesting and novel chemistry, and elucidating the biochemical functions of genes linked to important biological activities with a particular emphasis on functions of the human microbiome. They are also devising strategies for integrating synthetic organic chemistry with microbial metabolism by developing biocompatible, non-enzymatic chemical transformations capable of modifying cellular metabolites. All of the group’s research integrates knowledge of microbiology with an understanding of biochemical logic and organic chemistry.
Prof. Balskus joined the CCB faculty in 2011. She is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT and is a Faculty Associate of the Microbial Sciences Initiative at Harvard. She is the recipient of the 2011 Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research and the 2012 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. She is also a 2012 Searle Scholar.
Office: Mallinckrodt 303N
Cambridge, MA 02138