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Dr Katherine Duncan

Strathclyde Chancellor'S Fellow

Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences

Personal statement

Chancellor's Research Fellow and Lecturer Marine Natural Products Drug Discovery

  • The Scottish Association for Marine Science, UK. PDRA 2014-2016
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography University of California San Diego, USA. PDF 2012-2014
  • University of Prince Edward Island, Canada. PhD 2008-2012
  • Florida Atlantic University, USA. MChem 2005
  • University of Aberdeen, UK. MChem 2000-2005

As a Chancellor's Fellow in Drug Discovery, my research group is focussed on the discovery of new medicines, primarily antibiotics and anticancer compounds.

The bacterial order actinomycetes are the main focus of my research group, they are known to be prolific producers of new medicines. Historically these bacteria have been explored on land, however, we are mostly focussed on isolating actinomycetes from under explored marine environments, this can include the Polar regions, deep sea and costal areas. The Oceans cover approximately 70% of the Earth's surface and are incredibly biodiverse. It is this biological diversity that we explore for new chemical diversity.

My research group is interdisciplinary and includes, microbiology, molecular biology, genomics, natural products chemistry and comparative metabolomics. We use cutting edge techniques including imagine mass spectrometry (IMS) and global natural products social molecular networking (GNPS).

These marine natural products (secondary metabolites) provide a wealth of chemical structures and biological activities. In addition to new medicines, we are also interested in understanding the microbial ecology, biogeography and functional role of these secondary metabolites within the marine environment for improved bioprospecting.

Please visit the Duncan lab website:


An integrative approach to decipher the chemical antagonism between the competing endophytes paraconiothyrium variabile and Bacillus subtilis
Vallet Marine, Vanbellingen Quentin P., Fu Tingting, Le Caer Jean-Pierre, Della-Negra Serge, Touboul David, Duncan Katherine R., Nay Bastien, Brunelle Alain, Prado Soizic
Journal of Natural Products Vol 80, pp. 2863–2873, (2017)
Antarctic sponge associated microbial chemistry with biomedical relevance– the need for ecologically driven studies
Buchholz Holger H., Duncan Katherine R.
Current Organic Chemistry, (2016)
Sharing and community curation of mass spectrometry data with Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking
Wang Mingxun, Carver Jeremy J, Phelan Vanessa V, Sanchez Laura M, Garg Neha, Peng Yao, Nguyen Don Duy, Watrous Jeramie, Kapono Clifford A, Luzzatto-Knaan Tal, Porto Carla, Bouslimani Amina, Melnik Alexey V, Meehan Michael J, Liu Wei-Ting, Crüsemann Max, Boudreau Paul D, Esquenazi Eduardo, Sandoval-Calderón Mario, Kersten Roland D, Pace Laura A, Quinn Robert A, Duncan Katherine R, Hsu Cheng-Chih, Floros Dimitrios J, Gavilan Ronnie G, Kleigrewe Karin, Northen Trent, Dutton Rachel J, Parrot Delphine, Carlson Erin E, Aigle Bertrand, Michelsen Charlotte F, Jelsbak Lars, Sohlenkamp Christian, Pevzner Pavel, Edlund Anna, McLean Jeffrey, Piel Jörn, Murphy Brian T, Gerwick Lena, Liaw Chih-Chuang, Yang Yu-Liang, Humpf Hans-Ulrich, Maansson Maria, Keyzers Robert A, Sims Amy C, Johnson Andrew R, Sidebottom Ashley M, Sedio Brian E, Klitgaard Andreas, Larson Charles B, Boya P Cristopher A, Torres-Mendoza Daniel, Gonzalez David J, Silva Denise B, Marques Lucas M, Demarque Daniel P, Pociute Egle, O'Neill Ellis C, Briand Enora, Helfrich Eric J N, Granatosky Eve A, Glukhov Evgenia, Ryffel Florian, Houson Hailey, Mohimani Hosein, Kharbush Jenan J, Zeng Yi, Vorholt Julia A, Kurita Kenji L, Charusanti Pep, McPhail Kerry L, Nielsen Kristian Fog, Vuong Lisa, Elfeki Maryam, Traxler Matthew F, Engene Niclas, Koyama Nobuhiro, Vining Oliver B, Baric Ralph, Silva Ricardo R, Mascuch Samantha J, Tomasi Sophie, Jenkins Stefan, Macherla Venkat, Hoffman Thomas, Agarwal Vinayak, Williams Philip G, Dai Jingqui, Neupane Ram, Gurr Joshua, Rodríguez Andrés M C, Lamsa Anne, Zhang Chen, Dorrestein Kathleen, Duggan Brendan M, Almaliti Jehad, Allard Pierre-Marie, Phapale Prasad, Nothias Louis-Felix, Alexandrov Theodore, Litaudon Marc, Wolfender Jean-Luc, Kyle Jennifer E, Metz Thomas O, Peryea Tyler, Nguyen Dac-Trung, VanLeer Danielle, Shinn Paul, Jadhav Ajit, Müller Rolf, Waters Katrina M, Shi Wenyuan, Liu Xueting, Zhang Lixin, Knight Rob, Jensen Paul R, Palsson Bernhard Ø, Pogliano Kit, Linington Roger G, Gutiérrez Marcelino, Lopes Norberto P, Gerwick William H, Moore Bradley S, Dorrestein Pieter C, Bandeira Nuno
Nature Biotechnology Vol 34, pp. 828-37, (2016)
Competitive strategies differentiate closely related species of marine actinobacteria
Patin Nastassia V, Duncan Katherine R, Dorrestein Pieter C, Jensen Paul R
ISME Journal Vol 10, pp. 478-90, (2016)
Using molecular networking for microbial secondary metabolite bioprospecting
Purves Kevin, Macintyre Lynsey, Brennan Debra, Hreggviðsson Guðmundur Ó., Kuttner Eva, Ásgeirsdóttir Margrét E., Young Louise C., Green David H., Edrada-Ebel Ruangelie, Duncan Katherine
Metabolites Vol 6, (2016)
Molecular networking and pattern-based genome mining improves discovery of biosynthetic gene clusters and their products from Salinispora species
Duncan Katherine R., Crüsemann Max, Lechner Anna, Sarkar Anindita, Li Jie, Ziemert Nadine, Wang Mingxun, Bandeira Nuno, Moore Bradley S., Dorrestein Pieter C., Jensen Paul R.
Chemistry and Biology Vol 22, pp. 460-471, (2015)

more publications

Professional activities

National Physical Laboratory, The National Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry Imaging (NiCE-MSI) “Microbial natural product drug discovery
University of Aberdeen Chemistry Department - Invited Seminar "Molecular networking approaches to antimicrobial drug discovery"
Department of Chemistry MRes Viva
External Examiner
BBSRC NIBB PHYCONET/HVCfP workshop on High Value Products from Algae
2016 Soapbox Science: Medicines from the Sea

more professional activities


Characterizing novel marine microbial chemistry to combat antimicrobial resistance AMR
Duncan, Katherine (Principal Investigator)
Period 28-May-2018 - 22-Jul-2018
A comparative multi-omics platform for accelerated antibiotic drug discovery from ancient Polar bacteria
Duncan, Katherine (Principal Investigator) Tucker, Nicholas (Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2017 - 30-Sep-2018
Accelerating the biotechnological potential of marine microalgae using a molecular networking comparative metabolomics approach
Duncan, Katherine (Principal Investigator)
Period 03-Jul-2017 - 02-Jan-2018
Assessing the biotechnological potential of Antarctic and sub Arctic sediment cores (MASTS funding)
Duncan, Katherine (Principal Investigator) Hoskisson, Paul (Co-investigator)
Period 05-Dec-2016 - 11-Aug-2017
MASTS visiting fellowship: assessing the biotechnological potential of Antarctic and sub Arctic sediment cores - a new resource for sustainable antibiotic drug discovery
Duncan, Katherine (Principal Investigator)
Period 05-Dec-2016 - 11-Aug-2017

more projects


Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences
Hamnett Wing John Arbuthnott Building

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