Dr. Van Lanen’s research is centered on identifying and characterizing the biosynthetic pathways for bioactive natural products that have unknown or distinct modes of action relative to clinically-used drugs. Natural products currently being investigated include peptidyl nucleoside antibiotics with antifungal or antibacterial activity and sideromycins, or hybrid siderophore-antibiotics. The primary goals are i) to define a mechanism of biosynthesis using in vivo and in vitro approaches, ii) to elucidate the function and mechanism of enzymes that catalyze novel or unusual chemistry, and iii) to manipulate the biosynthetic machinery to rationally prepare novel compounds with improved pharmacological properties.
Prior to joining the University of Kentucky in 2007, Dr. Van Lanen was an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Professor Ben Shen at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 2003 he received his Ph.D from Portland State University in Chemistry under the guidance of Professor Dirk Iwata-Reuyl.