Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Bill J. Baker


drug-resistance, epigenetics, fungi, Malaria, MRSA, SARS


A significant challenge of the 21st century is the growing health threat stemming from drug-resistant infectious diseases. There is an undeniable need to discover new, safe and effective drugs with novel mechanisms of action to combat this threat. A study of drugs currently on the market showed that natural products account for approximately 75% of new anti-infective drugs, either as new agents or analogs based upon their structure. Unfortunately, major pharmaceutical companies have cut back tremendously in natural products research in part due to the frustrating obstacle of frequent rediscovery of compounds. Fungi in particular are difficult to work with in that they do not always produce the same variety and quantities of secondary metabolites under laboratory conditions. One of the groundbreaking discoveries evolving from genomics research is the observation that many fungi possess more gene clusters encoding for the production of secondary metabolites than the reported number of natural products isolated from those organisms. Simple epigenetic modifications such as DNA methlytransferase or histone deacetylase inhibition can activate silenced genes leading to the genesis of novel chemistry from the fungus. The work presented herein is a study of the isolation and characterization of anti-infective compounds from Floridian mangrove endophytes. In addition, epigenetic modifications were explored in order to increase the production of secondary metabolites as well as for the purpose of generating new analogs not found in the controls. Finally, structure activity relationship studies were performed in order to maximize the anti-malarial and antibiotic activity of cytosporone E.