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Chemistry Department Welcomes Two New Assistant Professors

Constance Bailey Constance Bailey joined the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in organic chemistry. Bailey began her academic career at Reed College, where she pursued research in natural products biochemistry and organic synthesis.

Under the mentorship of Professor Adrian Keatinge-Clay at UT Austin, her doctoral research focused on the biocatalytic applications of polyketide synthase enzymes. Following her PhD, she was an NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Professor Jay Keasling at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focusing on developing synthetic biology applications of polyketide synthases as a “plug and play” platform to generate a range of valuable chemicals.

The focus of the Bailey laboratory will be accessing chemical transformations through biological means, both through engineering enzymes as biocatalysts as well as the organisms that host engineered biosynthetic pathways.

Bailey’s research attempts to apply natural product biosynthetic enzymes, primarily polyketide synthases (PKSs), to generate valuable molecules such pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical intermediates, commodity chemicals, and specialty chemicals. Because of their modular nature, PKSs can generate endless variations of metabolites that differ by the degree of branching and reduction of the carbon scaffold.

The interdisciplinary research in Bailey’s group will harness intellectual approaches from physical organic chemistry and enzymology to tune the biocatalytic transformations. It will also apply metabolic engineering to create strains to produce these chemicals. 

Thanh Do Thanh Do joined the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor in physical chemistry. Originally from Vietnam, Do earned his PhD at the University of California, Santa Barbara with Mike Bowers and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign with Jonathan Sweedler.

Do’s focal area is to investigate toxic mechanisms induced by amyloid oligomers through probing changes in chemical content of single cells or neurons of transgenic animals and human biopsies. His research group will couple state-of-the-art mass spectrometry technologies and computational modeling to explore previously uncharacterized, transient and metastable species by performing fragmentation or spectroscopy on mass-to-charge and drift mobility-selected ions.

Do’s research group will strive to take advantage of weakly solvent-bound complexes and protomers, which are sensitive to structural change and charge location, respectively, to enhance the separation capability of IM-MS. The work is a blend of experiment and theory.