Pfeifer Lab

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The Pfeifer Lab is part of the Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering at Tufts University in Medford, MA.

Contents

Principal Investigator

Biography

Assistant Professor Blaine A. Pfeifer
1997 B.S. Chemical Engineering, Colorado State University
2002 Ph.D. Chemical Engineering, Stanford University
Thesis Advisor: Chaitan Khosla (Wells H. Rauser & Harold M. Petiprin Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, & Biochemistry)
2003 American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship, Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Advisor: Robert S. Langer (Institute Professor) (Langer Lab)

Publications

  • Pfeifer BA, Burdick JA, Little SR, Langer R. Poly(ester-anhydride):poly(β-amino ester) micro- and nanospheres: DNA encapsulation and cellular transfection. Int J Pharm. 2005 Nov 4;304(1-2):210-9.
  • Pfeifer BA, Burdick JA, Langer R. Formulation and surface modification of poly(ester-anhydride) micro- and nanospheres. Biomaterials. 2005 Jan;26(2):117-24.
  • Pfeifer BA, Wang CC, Walsh CT, Khosla C. Biosynthesis of Yersiniabactin, a complex polyketide-nonribosomal peptide, using Escherichia coli as a heterologous host. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Nov;69(11):6698-702.
  • Kinoshita K, Pfeifer BA, Khosla C, Cane DE. Precursor-directed polyketide biosynthesis in Escherichia coli. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2003 Nov 3;13(21):3701-4.
  • Hu Z, Pfeifer BA, Chao E, Murli S, Kealey J, Carney JR, Ashley G, Khosla C, Hutchinson CR. A specific role of the Saccharopolyspora erythraea thioesterase II gene in the function of modular polyketide synthases. Microbiology. 2003 Aug;149(Pt 8):2213-25.
  • Dayem LC, Carney JR, Santi DV, Pfeifer BA, Khosla C, Kealey JT. Metabolic engineering of a methylmalonyl-CoA mutase-epimerase pathway for complex polyketide biosynthesis in Escherichia coli. Biochemistry. 2002 Apr 23;41(16):5193-201.
  • Pfeifer BA, Khosla C. Biosynthesis of polyketides in heterologous hosts. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2001 Mar;65(1):106-18. Review.
  • Pfeifer BA, Admiraal SJ, Gramajo H, Cane DE, Khosla C. Biosynthesis of complex polyketides in a metabolically engineered strain of E. coli. Science. 2001 Mar 2;291(5509):1790-2.

Research Interests, Areas, or Ongoing Projects

Our group takes a molecular and process engineering approach to generating therapeutic natural products. Our work is multidisciplinary with molecular biology, microbiology, analytical chemistry, and bacterial genetics supporting the development of microbial bioprocesses and products. The particular compounds and processes we strive to produce target diseases that include cancer, bacterial infections, and diabetes.

The common research theme in our lab is to find more efficient and economical ways to generate biological products. The approach is to transplant the genetic material responsible for an important therapeutic product into a convenient and process-friendly bacterial microorganism (such as Escherichia coli) for eventual product scale-up and development.

Current Projects

Process Optimization

  • The cellular and metabolic optimization for the production of the antibiotic erythromycin. Here, we are interested in optimizing the cellular biosynthetic process leading to large-scale process optimization.
    The DEBS polyketide synthase (PKS) which catalyzes the intracellular production of 6-dEB.(Source: Pfeifer BA, et al. Science. 2001 Mar 2;291(5509):1790–2.)
    The DEBS polyketide synthase (PKS) which catalyzes the intracellular production of 6-dEB.
    (Source: Pfeifer BA, et al. Science. 2001 Mar 2;291(5509):1790–2.)
Post-biosynthetic conversion of 6-dEB to the medically active compound Erythromycin A.(Source: Pfeifer BA and Khosla C. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2001 Mar;65(1):106–18.)
Post-biosynthetic conversion of 6-dEB to the medically active compound Erythromycin A.
(Source: Pfeifer BA and Khosla C. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2001 Mar;65(1):106–18.)

Drug Development

  • The production of new and established anticancer agents. This research aim seeks to generate potent anticancer agents through recombinant DNA technology. One particular agent of interest includes the anticancer agent ansamitocin.
    Ansamitocin Polyketide Synthase
    Ansamitocin Polyketide Synthase

Drug Discovery

Research Philosophy

Our research program emphasizes new and multiple disciplines to augment a traditional engineering education and embrace both chemical and biological engineering. Coupled with a group infrastructure that emphasizes commitment, teamwork, organization, creativity, and independence, our goal is to equip the student with the technical know-how and intellectual preparation to conduct and lead research.

Group Members

Postdoctoral Scholars:

  • Yong Wang (2005-present)

Graduate Students:

  • Janelle Lavoie (MS) (2004-present)
  • Guangquan Shi (PhD) (2004-present)
  • Haoran Zhang (PhD) (2005-present)
  • Saba Parsa (MS) (2006-present)
  • David Praseuth (PhD) (2006-present)

Undergraduate Student(s):

Image:Labdinner.jpg
End of Fall Semester 2005 Lab Group Dinner at Diva Indian Bistro in Davis Sqaure.
(L-to-R: Haoran, Janelle, Brett, Prof. Pfeifer, Guangquan, Yong)

Pfeifer Lab Meeting Schedule

Pfeifer Lab Documents & Presentation Files

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