A/Prof Heng Chooi
University of Western Australia
A/Professor Chooi’s research focuses on the genetic and molecular basis for secondary metabolite biosynthesis in fungi and exploits the understanding toward the discovery and generation of novel bioactive molecules (e.g. antibiotics) via innovative synthetic biology tools. These molecules have immense potential as drugs and agrochemicals, and the research advances the understanding of the roles of small molecules in the development of human and plant fungal diseases. Dr Chooi is interested in translating these technologies into potential applications.
Two major areas of his research highly align with CIPPS strategic focus on peptides and proteins through the understanding of the relationships between gene sequences and secondary metabolites (including peptides) and their bioactivities. These include 1) genome mining and biosynthetic engineering of novel bioactive peptides from fungi, and 2) the discovery and engineering of enzymes from secondary metabolite pathways as biocatalysts for complex chemical transformation. His lab also uses these tools to uncover cryptic secondary metabolites in human and plant fungal pathogens and their roles in disease development. His research is highly complementary and synergistic with the research going on in the Centre. He collaborates with CI Max Cryle, and has identified additional potential collaborations from having participated in the 2022 CIPPS Annual Conference.