Damon Runyon Researchers

Meet Our Scientists
Conor J. McClune, PhD

Dr. McClune [HHMI Fellow] investigates plant biosynthesis of therapeutic compounds. Approximately half of FDA-approved chemotherapeutics, including first line drugs like paclitaxel (Taxol) and vinblastine (Velban), derive from the arsenal of defensive chemicals that plants synthesize. Unfortunately, both the discovery of new plant-derived therapies and their scalable production are limited by intrinsic challenges of plant biology and genomics. Dr. McClune is developing systematic methods for identifying the biosynthetic pathways plants use to produce defensive molecules. Using single-cell technology, he will characterize rare cells responsible for synthesizing potentially beneficial chemicals and identify the enzymes they use to produce such molecules.

Project title: "Resolving plant biosynthesis of therapeutic compounds by systematic perturbation, measurement, and metabolic phenotyping at single-cell scale"
Institution: Stanford University
Named Award: HHMI Fellow
Award Program: Fellow
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Elizabeth S. Sattely, PhD, and Polly M. Fordyce, PhD
Cancer Type: All Cancers
Research Area: Biochemistry