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Tim S Bugni, PhD


Tim Bugni's research interests are marine natural products chemistry, symbiotic microorganisms, drug discovery, metabolomics, and NMR and MS for structure elucidation of novel natural products.

Genetically encoded small molecules, natural products, have been a valuable source of therapeutics particularly in the areas of cancer and infectious disease. However, discovering novel natural products has become significantly more difficult even though whole genome sequencing has shown that only a small fraction of microbial-produced natural products have been discovered. To overcome these difficulties, we are utilizing under-explored niches for bacterial cultivation and developing metabolomics approaches to enable discovery of novel natural products. We have cultivated bacteria from marine invertebrates such as sponges and ascidians. Many of these bacteria show great promise as sources of novel therapeutics. Using metabolomics, we prioritize the most promising strains for discovery of novel natural products as therapeutics in the areas of neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease, and cancer. For additional information, please see the lab website.

The overarching goal of our long-term research plan is to develop diverse natural product libraries from unique microbes for the purposes of drug discovery. Identification of novel therapeutic leads provides opportunities for synthetic modification to understand and relate the structure to a biological response and alter the pharmacological properties. Exploring lead compounds not only in terms of drug development, but also in terms of chemical biology and molecular pharmacology will provide opportunities to produce chemical probes that can be used to investigate cellular function.

Tim received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from MT Tech in 1995 and a Ph.D. degree from the University of Utah with Professor Chris M. Ireland. He held a postdoctoral appointment at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2003-4), and was a research assistant professor at the University of UT from 2004-2009. He joined the faculty at the School of Pharmacy in 2009. His research interests are marine natural products chemistry, symbiotic microorganisms, drug discovery, metabolomics, and NMR and MS for structure elucidation of novel natural products.

Professional Interests: Marine natural products chemistry, structure elucidation of novel natural products using NMR and MS, drug discovery, metabolomics.


  • BS 1995 Chemistry - Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • PhD 2003 - University of Utah
  • Postdoc 2004 - Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Highlighted Publications:
  • Tianero, M. D.; Kwan, J. C.; Wyche, T. P.; Presson, A. P.; Koch, M.; Barrows, L. R.; Bugni, T. S.; Schmidt, E. W. "Species specificity of symbiosis and secondary metabolism in ascidians." ISME J. 2015, 9, 615-628. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Hou, Y.; Braun, D.; Deshpande, R.; Mcllwain, S.; Ong, I. M.; Myers, C. L.; Guzei, I. A.; Westler, W. M.; Andes, D. R.; Bugni, T. S. "Forazoline A: a marine-derived polyketide with antifungal in vivo efficacy." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2014, 53, 11583-11586. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Fry, C. G.; Standiford, M.; Hou, Y.; Braun, D.; Johnson, D. A.; Johnson, J. A.; Bugni, T. S. "Activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 pathway by novel natural products halomadurones A-D and a synthetic analogue." Marine Drugs 2013, 11, 5089-5099. Link
  • Li, Q.; Xu, Y.-S.; Ellis, G. A.; Bugni, T. S.; Tang, Y.; Hsung, R. P. "Total syntheses of proposed (+/-)-Trichodermatide B and C." Tetrahedron Lett. 2013, 54, 5567-5572. Link
  • Zhou, M.; Hou, Y.; Hamza, A.; Zhan, C.-G.; Bugni, T. S.; Thorson, J. S. "Probing the regiospecificity of enzyme-catalyzed steroid glycosylation." Org. Lett., 2012, 14, 5424-5427. Link
  • Hou, Y.; Tianero, M. D.; Kwan, J. C.; Wyche, T. P.; Michel, C. R.; Ellis, G. A.; Vazquez-Rivera, E.; Braun, D. R.; Rose, W. E.; Schmidt, E. W., Bugni T. S. "Structure and biosynthesis of bottromycin D." Org. Lett. , 2012 , 14 , 5050-5053. Link
  • Liu, R.; Zhang, M.; Wyche, T. P.; Winston-McPherson, G. N.; Bugni, T. S.; Tang, W. "Stereoselective preparation of cyclobutanes with four different substituents: Total synthesis and structural revision of pipercyclobutanamide a and piperchabamide g." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl., 2012, 51, 7503-7506. Link
  • Lim, F. Y.; Hou, Y.; Chen, Y.; Bugni, T. S.; Keller, N. P. "Genome-based cluster deletion reveals endocrocin biosynthetic pathway in Aspergillus fumigatus." Appl. Environ. Micro. 2012, 78, 4117-4125. Link
  • Carr, G.; Poulsen, M.; Klassen, J. L.; Hou, Y.; Wyche, T. P.; Bugni, T. S., Currie, C. R.; Clardy, J. "Microtermolides A and B from termite-associated Streptomyces sp. and structural revision of vinylamycin." Org. Lett. 2012, 14, 2822-2825. Link
  • Hou, Y.; Braun, D. R.; Michel, C. R.; Wyche, T. P.; Adnani, N.; Bugni, T. S. "Microbial strain prioritization using metabolomics tools for the discovery of natural products." Anal. Chem. 2012, 84, 4277-4283. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Hou, Y.; Vazquez-Rivera, E.; Braun, D.; Bugni, T. S. "Peptidolipins B-F, antibacterial lipopeptides from an ascidian-derived Nocardia sp." J. Nat. Prod. 2012, 75, 735-740. Link
  • Adnani, N.; Michel, C.; Bugni, T. S. "Universal quantification of structurally diverse natural products using an evaporative light scattering detector (ELSD)." J. Nat. Prod. 2012, 75, 802-806. Link
  • Hu, K.; Wyche, T. P.; Bugni, T. S.; Markley, J. L. "Selective quantification by 2D HSQC0 spectroscopy of thiocoraline in an extract from a sponge-derived Verrucosispora sp." J. Nat. Prod. 2011, 74, 2295-2298. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Hou, Y.; Braun, D.; Cohen, H. C.; Xiong, M. P.; Bugni, T. S. "First natural analogs of the cytotoxic thiodepsipeptide thiocoraline A from a marine Verrucosispora sp." J. Org. Chem. 2011, 76, 6542-6547.View publication icon