Dr Sacha Pidot
The University of Melbourne
The work of Dr Pidot’s laboratory is centred around the themes of 1) Discovery of new bioactive molecules (including peptides), and 2) Understanding how these molecules are biosynthesised.
Dr Pidot uses genomic approaches to investigate a range of bacterial species for their potential to synthesise new molecules. He primarily focuses on rare Actinobacteria (such as Nocardia, Gordonia, Tsukamurella), which have received limited attention as sources of bioactives. Dr Pidot has established a large collection of microbes and their genome sequences, which has allowed him to mine these bacteria for enzymes that perform unusual chemical transformations and for new peptide antimicrobials. An example of this is his work on the ether bridge forming dioxygenases (Pidot et al, 2019, Angew Chem Int Ed; Pidot & Rizzacasa, Chemistry, 2020).
Dr Pidot’s work aligns with Flagship 3 (Bio)synthetic technologies, where he can utilise his collection of bacteria to contribute new enzymes and investigate their activities. In addition, his laboratory has recently started projects on ribosomally synthesised and post-translationally modified peptides (RiPPs) with antibacterial activity from his bacterial collection – the majority of which have not previously been investigated. Together, these activities will contribute not only publications but translational potential through enzymes for biomimetic synthesis of high value chemicals and peptides with antibiotic activity.