Julia Kubanek, Professor
Ph.D., Organic Chemistry, University of British Columbia
Office: Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) 2242
Aquatic chemical ecology Chemical signaling Chemical communication Marine natural products chemistry Chemical biology Secondary metabolism Drug discovery Plankton ecology Metabolomics
Chemical Signaling in Marine Systems
Most organisms use chemical signals to assess their environment and to communicate with others. Chemical cues for defense, mating, habitat selection, and food tracking are crucial, widespread in occurrence, and structurally and functionally diverse. Yet, our knowledge of chemical signaling is patchy, especially in marine environments. Processes such as oceanic primary production affect global climate, human health, and our sustainable use of environmental resources. In our research the Kubanek group asks, "How do marine organisms use chemicals to solve critical problems of competition, predation, disease, and reproduction?" We use an integrated approach to understand how marine natural products function as chemical cues in ecological interactions - working from the molecular to the community level. We also use ecological insights about how marine organisms use chemical cues to guide our discovery of novel natural products for drug discovery. We have core collaborations with research groups at Georgia Tech's Center for Aquatic Chemical Ecology, in which our group plays key roles as organic chemists, chemical ecologists, and chemical biologists. Ongoing projects include: 1) Waterborne chemical cues in the marine plankton: a systems biology approach (including metabolomics); 2) Exploration, conservation, and development of marine biodiversity in Fiji (including drug discovery, mechanisms of action, and chemical ecology); 3) Sensory environment and predator chemical signal properties in determining non-consumptive effect strength in cascading interactions on oyster reefs; 4) Regulation of red tide toxicity by chemical cues from marine zooplankton; 5) Chemoreception of prey chemical defenses on tropical coral reefs.
Teasdale ME, Shearer TL, Engel S, Alexander TS, Fairchild CR, Le Roch K, Prudhomme J, Aalbersberg W, Hay ME, Kubanek J (2012) Bromophycoic acids: bioactive natural products from a Fijian red alga Callophycus sp. Manuscript accepted by Journal of Organic Chemistry.
Rasher DB, Stout EP, Engel S, Kubanek J, Hay ME (2011) Macroalgal terpenes function as allelopathic agents against reef corals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:17726-17731 (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1108628108)
Redshaw CH, Sutter DA, Lim-Hing K, Heckman ML, Jakobsson SL, Naar J, Kubanek J (2011) Tracking losses of brevetoxins on exposure to phytoplankton competitors: Ecological impacts. Harmful Algae 12:119-124.
Zhang JL, Kubanek J, Hay ME, Aalbersberg W, Ye WC, Jiang RW (2011) Rapid identification of triterpenoid sulfates and hydroxy fatty acids including two new constituents from Tydemania expeditionis by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Mass Spectrometry 46:908-916. DOI: 10.1002/jms.1969
Stout EP, Cervantes S, Prudhomme J, France S, La Clair JJ, Le Roch K, Kubanek J (2011) Bromophycolide A targets heme crystallization in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. ChemMedChem 6:572-577. DOI: 10.1002/cmdc.201100252
Sieg RD, Poulson-Ellestad KL, Kubanek J (2011) Chemical ecology of the marine plankton. Manuscript accepted by Natural Product Reports. DOI: 10.1039/C0NP00051E
Lin AS, Engel S, Smith BA, Fairchild CR, Aalbersberg W, Hay ME, Kubanek J (2010) Structure and biological evaluation of novel cytotoxic sterol glycosides from a marine red alga Peyssonnelia sp. Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry 18:8264-8269. DOI:10.1016/j.bmc.2010.10.010
Redshaw CH, Sutter D, Myers TL, Naar J, Kubanek J (2010) Tracking losses of brevetoxins on exposure to phytoplankton competitors: Mechanistic insights. Aquatic Toxicology 100:365-372. DOI:10.1016/j.aquatox.2010.08.015
Poulson KL, Sieg RD, Prince EK, Kubanek J (2010) Allelopathic compounds of a red tide dinoflagellate have species-specific and context-dependent impacts on phytoplankton. Marine Ecology Progress Series 416:69-78. DOI: 10.3354/meps08788
Lane AL, Mular L, Drenkard EJ, Shearer TL, Engel S, Fredericq S, Fairchild CR, Prudhomme J, Le Roch K, Hay ME, Aalbersberg W, Kubanek J (2010) Ecological leads for natural product discovery: Novel sesquiterpene hydroquinones from the red macroalga Peyssonnelia sp. Tetrahedron 66:455-461