“Engineering ‘Magic’ Microbes for the Production of Therapeutic Psychedelics”
Abstract: Psychedelics are a novel class of therapeutics positioned to fulfill an unmet need in mental health treatment; however, current synthesis strategies struggle to deliver the quantities and quality of product necessary for the pharmaceutical market in a competitive and cost-efficient manner. The Jones Lab aims to fill this gap through their development of a fermentation-based psilocybin production platform using synthetic biology-driven metabolic engineering. I will discuss the development of this platform in addition to our recent efforts to develop and evaluate nature-inspired tryptamine combinations that act to enhance the effect of psilocybin, and the regulatory needs for this novel biosynthesis technology. A bit of humor and some advice targeted towards graduate students will also be incorporated.
Short bio:J. Andrew Jones is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemical, Paper, and Biomedical Engineering at Miami University (Oxford, OH). Prior to joining Miami, Dr. Jones spent 1 year as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Hamilton College (Clinton, NY). Dr. Jones completed his Ph.D. in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY) and his M.S. in Environmental Engineering and B.S. in general engineering, with specialization in Biomedical Engineering, at Mercer University (Macon, GA).
Dr. Jones joined Miami in the Fall of 2017. His research focuses on genetically engineering microorganisms for high-value chemical production. Using traditional and high-throughput molecular biology and biochemistry techniques, The Jones Lab takes a fine-tuned approach towards pathway optimization in bacteria for more efficient chemical production.
Dr. Jones’ research has been highlighted on National Public Radio, Chemical & Engineering News, Vice News, High Times, and Scientific American. Additionally, he has been selected for multiple awards including: AIChE’s 35Under35 – Bioengineering (2020), Miami University’s Junior Faculty Scholar Award (2021), and Miami’s Associated Student Government – Outstanding Professor Award (2021, 2022). Dr. Jones has published over 25 peer-reviewed publications in top journals that have been cited over 2000 times since 2014. Dr. Jones is a member of the American Chemical Society and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
For inquiries contact Jesi Hempstead.