Abigail Sloan Devlin
Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Associate Member of the Harvard Digestive Disease Center
The goal of the Devlin lab is to understand and control the chemistry of human-associated bacteria (i.e., the microbiome) in order to uncover how these bacterial guests affect the human host.
The human microbiome plays a vital role in health and disease. Microbial imbalance has been linked to a wide range of disease states, including inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, autism, and obesity. However, the ways in which commensal bacteria interact with and affect the human host at a molecular level are poorly understood. One of the most concrete ways that the microbiome affects the host is through the production of small molecule metabolites, some of which accumulate in the body to levels higher than that of a typical drug. We are utilizing strategies and techniques from synthetic organic chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, analytical chemistry, bioinformatics, and gnotobiotic mouse experimental design to 1) elucidate the biosynthetic pathways and biological functions of small molecules produced by the human microbiome and 2) design, synthesize, and utilize small molecules to probe and manipulate human-associated bacteria in vivo.
Devlin, A.S. & Fischbach, M.A. “A biosynthetic pathway for a prominent class of microbiota-derived bile acids.” Nat. Chem. Bio. 2015, 11, 685.
Devlin, A.S. & Du Bois, J. “Modular Synthesis of the Pentacyclic Core of Batrachotoxin and Select Batrachotoxin Analogue Designs.” Chem. Sci. 2013, 4, 1053.
Harvard Medical School
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Boston, MA 02115