Schwekendiek Lab

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Who I am

Research Interests

In my work I use genetic engineering to develop sustainable and economic in planta production systems for pharmaceutically valuable natural products. Since a major focus of this work actually is on production, we are focussing on plants of broader economic importance for which extraction and processing systems are already in place. We found the hop plant (Humulus lupulus L.) being an interesting target because it perfectly meets this condition. Furthermore, although hops (the female flowers of the hop plant) is mainly used as an ingredient for beer, the hop plant - a member of the Cannabinaceae family - has long been known for its medicinal uses. Interestingly, hops contain one of the most potent phytoestrogens known from plants. Furthermore, highly active anti-cancer compounds have also been identified in hops. Both these compounds are produced in very low quantities in hops. Since they are not available from other plants, their limited occurence hinders further exploitation. Therefore, the aims of my research are (a) to dissect the molecular pathways leading to production of these medicinally valuable compounds in hops, (b) to clone the corresponding genes and regulatory elements, and (c) to modify the biosynthetic routes in transgenic hop in order to increase their production in planta. I believe the successful development of transgenic hop with increased content of pharmaceutically active compounds could open up new high value markets for the hop industry.

Undergraduate Students

  • Cunningham, Robert: Molecular biology and gene cloning (Jan 2007 - May 2007)
  • Hanson, Scott: Temporary Immersion System (Summer 2007)
  • Pitra, Nicholi: Plant tissue culture and plant transformation (Jan 2007 - May 2007)


Schwekendiek Lab Inventory

Schwekendiek Lab Color Codes


840.119 - Introduction to Biotechnology (Fall)
840.130 - Molecular Biology (Spring)
840.153g - Recombinant DNA Techniques (Spring)

--Axel 08:33, 22 March 2006 (EST)