Natural Products Laboratory, Institute of Biology, Leiden University

What are NPL working for?


Considering the status of natural product research in the past we could deduce current problems to be solved in the future as follows.
1. How to improve production yield of natural products?
2. How to obtain reliable source of natural products independent from source material?
3. What are the roles of natural products in organisms?
4. What are the media alternative to water or lipid in organisms?
In order to try to tackle problems our Natural Products Lab has following subgroups.

A. Plant Biotechnology
- People: Annelies, Ria, Zuwairi, Qifang, Dalia
- Aim: By genetic manipulation, production yield of secondary metabolites will be increased.
- Current work: Indole alkaloids production in C. roseus cell lines
- Extra work: Steady-state 13C labeling experiments for flux analysis
- Basic requirement: Plant Cell Culture Room and Clean bench.
- Coming people (more needed): 1 guest researcher, 1 PhD student (after Zuwairi), 1 PhD student for flux analysis.
- External collaboration: ExPlant.

B. Metabolomics
- People: Kim, Kashif,
- Aim: Spectroscopic data of natural products including pure compound will be built-up.
- Current work: Metabolomics of Brassica, Streptomyces, Sponge, Prunus.
- Extra work: Development of NMR and MS methods for metabolomics. Service work for internal or external collaborators.
- Basic requirement: NMR and MS.
- Coming people (more needed): 1 postdoc (after Kashif), 1 PhD student (probably from STW project)
- External collaboration: many collaborators from outside including LUMC, VTT (Finland), University Shanxi (China), KORDI (Korea for Sponge), Indonesian marine organisms institute (Indonesia, for marine fungus) and so on.

C. Chemical Ecology (chemical interaction between plants and insect or microorganisms)
- People: Barbora, Maaike, Andreas, Andrea, Nunning, Dinar, Nadeem
- Aim: Chemicals involved in plant defense mechanisms will be investigated. The role of secondary metabolites will be studied.
- Current work: Metabolomics of Carrot, Chrysanthemum and Senecio targeting on interaction with insects.
- Extra work: Investigation of effect of regional location and UV on flavonoid profile. Chemical Composition of plant colors. Studying relationship between sugar moiety of saponins and toxicity on microorganisms (Potato).
- Basic requirement: using instrument of Ecology group.
- Coming people (more needed): Maaike’s position is not sure. 1 PhD student for UV-flavonoid and saponin-toxicity work.
- External collaboration: Ecology group. Naturalis.

D. Chemotaxonomy
- People: None
- Aim: Chemical classification of plant or microorganism species will be performed to support genetic data.
- Current work: Classification of Ilex and sponge.
- Extra work: Making public database for NMR or MALDI-TOF database of plants, sponge, and microorganisms.
- Basic requirement: NMR and MS
- Coming people (more needed): 1 postdoc. 1 PhD student collaborating with Naturalis.
- External collaboration: Naturalis.

E. Biotransformation
- People: Frank, Tayyab, Wu (a new PhD student of Gilles).
- Aim: Chemical diversity of plants will be increased by enzyme modification or microorganism-biotransformation.
- Current work: Enzymatic modification of catechin by peroxidase and laccase.
- Extra work: Feeding experiment using plant metabolites and streptomyces.
- Basic requirement: Clean bench.
- Coming people (more needed): 1 postdoc (after Frank).
- External collaboration: Gilles’ group, TU-Delft (Dr. Hollmann).

F. Large-scale processing of natural products
- People: Orchidea
- Aim: A new large-scale extraction and isolation processing will be developed using supercritical fluid extraction and ionic liquid.
- Current work: Natural products isolation using SFE combined with ionic liquids.
- Extra work: Providing large quantity of natural products according to request of collaborators.
- Basic requirement: SFE apparatus, facility of ionic liquid extrator.
- Coming people (more needed): 1 year researcher to support Orchidea.
- External collaboration: TU-Delft (Geert-Jan’s group).

G. Separation of natural product for lead-finding.
- People: Frank, Justin, Teus, Iqbal
- Aim: Small scale isolation of diverse natural products for bioactivity test.
- Extra work: Screening bioactivity test
- Basic requirement: all kinds of chromatography (GC-MS, LC-MS, HPLC), other basic equipment (Evaporator, freeze-drier).
- Coming people (more needed): 1 technician
- External collaborators: PRISNA, TNO (Henrie’s group).

H. NADES (natural deep eutectic solvents)
- People: Yuntao
- Aim: A wide range of natural deep eutectic solvents will be investigated and direct proof in organisms will be collected.
- Extra work: Plant Sap (excretion) Metabolomics. Applying MAS-NMR to fresh plant tissues. Metabolic changes of desert plants depending on environmental water content.
- Basic requirement: MAS-NMR
- Coming people (more needed): 1 PhD for plant sap metabolomics and desert plant metabolisms.
- External collaborators: TU-Delft (Geert-Jan’s group), Naturlis. LIC (Alia’s group).


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Natural Products Laboratory
Institute of Biology
Leiden University
Sylviusweg 72
2333 BE Leiden
The Netherlands

Tel) +31 (0)71 527 4510
Fax) +31 (0)71 527 4511
E-mail) NPLadministrator@leidennpl.org