Joshua Blodgett

Assistant Professor of Biology
research interests:
  • Chemical Ecology
  • Biosynthesis, Regulation and Metabolism
  • Bioengineering and Synthetic Biology
  • Drug and Agricultural Lead Discovery
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contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
  • CB 1137
  • One Brookings Drive
  • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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Joshua Blodgett's lab is interested in a number of interdisciplinary questions surrounding bacterial small molecule production. These inquiries broadly span the fields of biology, chemistry, and ecology.

Streptomyces bacteria and their close relatives rank amongst the most prolific producers of small molecules known to science. These organisms produce nearly half of all known microbial bioactive natural products and nearly 2/3rds of our clinically- utilized antibiotics. Understandably, they’ve had an immense impact on medicine and agriculture as producers of human and animal therapeutics, molecular probes, and crop protective agents.

Although these bacteria have been a traditional source of valuable molecules, more recent genome analyses indicate that only a small fraction of their biosynthetic potential has been tapped thus far. This realization has engendered a new research paradigm; that of sequencing-based molecule discovery. Cognizant of the true molecule production capacity of these organisms, we’re now enabled to begin deciphering the evolutionary roles of these chemical modulators while creating opportunities to discover novel pharmacophores.

The Blodgett lab is interested in a number of interdisciplinary questions surrounding bacterial small molecule production. These inquiries broadly span the fields of biology, chemistry, and ecology.

Selected Publications

Blodgett, JAV., Zhang, JK., Yu, X., Metcalf, WW. 2015. Conserved biosynthetic pathways for phosalacine, bialaphos and newly discovered phosphonic acid natural products.  The Journal of Antibiotics.  Advance online publication, 2 September 2015; doi:10.1038/ja.2015.77

Book, AJ., Lewin, GR., McDonald, BR., Takasuka, TE., Doering, DT., Adams, AS., Blodgett, JAV., Clardy, J., Raffa KF., Fox, BG., Currie, CR.  2014.  Cellulolytic Streptomyces strains associated with herbivorous insects share a phylogenetically-linked capacity for the degradation of lignocellulose.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 80, 4692-4701

Cao, S., Blodgett, JAV., Clardy, J. 2010.  Targeted discovery of polycyclic tetramate macrolactams from an environmental Streptomyces strain. Organic Letters. 12, 4652-4654

Blodgett, JAV., Oh, D-C., Cao, S., Currie, CR., Kolter, R., Clardy, J.  2010.  Common biosynthetic origins for polycyclic tetramate macrolactams from phylogenetically diverse bacteria.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 107, 11693- 11697

Seyedsayamdost, MR., Chandler, JR., Blodgett, JAV., Lima, PS.,  Duerkop, BA., Oinuma, K-I., Greenberg, EP., Clardy, J. 2010.  Quorum- sensing- regulated bactobolin production by Burkholderia thailandensis E264.  Organic Letters. 12, 716-719

Cicchillo, RM., Zhang, H,. Blodgett, JAV., Whitteck, JT., Li G., Nair, SK., van der Donk, WA. and Metcalf, WW. 2009. An unusual carbon-carbon bond cleavage reaction in the biosynthesis of the antibiotic phosphinothricin. Nature.  459, 871-874

Shao, Z., Blodgett, JAV., Circello, BT., Woodyer, R., Li, G., van der Donk, WA,. Metcalf, WW., and Zhao, H. 2008. Biosynthesis of 2-hydroxyethylphosphonate, an unexpected intermediate common to multiple phosphonate biosynthetic pathways.  J. Biological Chemistry.  283, 23161-23168

Blodgett, JAV., Thomas, PM., Li, G., Velasquez, JE., van der Donk, WA., Kelleher, NL. and Metcalf, WW. 2007.  Unusual transformations in the biosynthesis of the antibiotic phosphinothricin tripeptide.  Nature Chemical Biology 3, 480-485.  Article highlighted in Nature, 448, 415-416 and C&EN, 85, 928.

Woodyer, RD., Shao Z., Thomas PT., Kelleher NL., Blodgett JAV., Metcalf WW., van der Donk WA. and Zhao H. 2006. Heterologous production of fosfomycin and identification of the minimal biosynthetic gene cluster.  Chemistry and Biology. 13, 1171-1182

Blodgett JAV., Zhang JK., and Metcalf WW. 2005. Molecular cloning, sequence analysis and heterologous expression of the phosphinothricin tripeptide biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces viridochromogenes DSM 40736. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 49, 230-240