David Fewer


Description of research and teaching

Natural products are low molecular weight metabolites with diverse chemical structures and potent biological activities that play key roles in advancing our understanding of biology and in the development of medicine. Natural products are either the direct basis or inspiration for the majority of drugs approved for clinical use. Half of all approved small-molecule anticancer drugs and antibiotics in clinical use today derive from natural products. Bacteria produce a stunning array of natural products with exotic chemical structures and dense functionalization. This chemical diversity is achieved using highly diverse biosynthetic pathways encoding an array of tailoring enzymes. My research focuses on the genomics and biochemistry of natural products biosynthetic pathways. I use a combination of bioinformatics, genomics, molecular biology, biochemistry, synthetic biology and structural chemistry to guide the discovery of new natural products from cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are found in freshwater lakes, reservoirs and ponds worldwide. They  are infamous producers of toxins and are linked to the death of wild and domestic animals. However, they are also a prolific and promising source of biologically active natural products. Using this approach I hope to unravel the genetic and chemical diversity of cyanobacterial natural products and discovered new natural products.


Highlighted publications

  1. Phylogenomic Analysis of the Microviridin Biosynthetic Pathway Coupled with Targeted Chemo-Enzymatic Synthesis Yields Potent Protease Inhibitors

    Ahmed, M. N., Reyna-Gonzalez, E., Schmid, B., Wiebach, V., Süssmuth, R. D., Dittmann, E. & Fewer, D. P. Jun 2017 In : ACS Chemical Biology. 12, 6, p. 1538-1546 9 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Natural Product Biosynthetic Diversity and Comparative Genomics of the Cyanobacteria.

    Dittmann, E., Gugger, M., Sivonen, A. K. & Fewer, D. P. 5 Oct 2015 In : Trends in Microbiology. 23, 10, p. 642-652 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview Article

  3. Genome mining expands the chemical diversity of the cyanobactin family to include highly modified linear peptides

    Leikoski, N., Liu, L., Jokela, J., Wahlsten, M., Gugger, M., Calteau, A., Permi, P., Kerfeld, C., Sivonen, K. & Fewer, D. P. 2013 In : Chemistry & Biology. 20, 8, p. 1033-1043 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Highlighted activities

  1. 8th European Workshop on Molecular Biology of Cyanobacteria

    Fewer, D. (Scientific Committee Member)
    28 Aug 20111 Sep 2011

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  2. I International Workshop on Cyanobacterial Natural Products

    Fewer, D. (Member of organizing committee)
    22 Jun 201625 Jun 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. Opponent of a doctoral dissertation at University of Liege, Belgium

    Fewer, D. (Opponent)
    12 Sep 2014

    Activity: ExaminationOpponent of doctoral dissertation

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Highlighted prizes

  1. FEMS/ESCMID Research Fellow 2010

    David Fewer (Recipient), 2010

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (2) »

Highlighted projects

  1. NordAqua - Nordic Research Center of Excellence

    Sivonen, K. & Fewer, D.


    Project: Research project_Research

View all (6) »



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