School of Pharmacy News & Media Center

The University of Mississippi

UM Professor Earns Grant to Produce Anticancer Natural Products from Bacteria

Posted on: January 10th, 2019 by wltarpy

Jan. 10, 2019

By Whitney Tarpy

OXFORD, Miss. – Cole Stevens, a faculty member in the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy, has been awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute for cancer prevention research using natural products.

Cole Stevens

Cole Stevens

Stevens, an assistant professor of pharmacognosy in the Department of BioMolecular Sciences, is working to engineer bacteria to produce significant amounts of gephyronic acid, a polyketide that has potential as an anticancer therapy.

“Developing bacterial platforms capable of producing polyketides with anticancer activities will allow us to thoroughly evaluate their potential as therapeutics,” Stevens said.

Once Stevens has produced sufficient amounts of the gephyronic acid, a research group led by Kristie Willett, chair of biomolecular sciences and professor of pharmacology, will test zebrafish grafted with human breast cancer cells to determine if any anticancer activities are present.