User:Kate Thodey

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Kate Thodey
Smolke Laboratory
Stanford University
CA 94305


  • 2005-2009, PhD, John Innes Centre, Norwich, United Kingdom
  • 2000-2003, BSc(Hons), University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Research interests

Many drugs are still produced the traditional way; by extraction from medicinal plants. In many cases the alternative chemical syntheses of such compounds are low-yielding due to the complex nature of these biological molecules. In the Smolke laboratory we are interested in using new synthetic biology approaches to biosynthesize a class of drug molecules which are currently produced by extraction from opium poppies, namely the benzylisoquinoline alkaloids which include the powerful analgesics codeine and morphine. As a postdoc working together with members of the laboratory, my research focuses on metabolically engineering yeast to produce opiates and other high-value alkaloids.


  1. Siddiqui MS, Thodey K, Trenchard I, Smolke CD. Advancing secondary metabolite biosynthesis in yeast with synthetic biology tools. FEMS Yeast Res. 2012 Mar;12(2):144-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1567-1364.2011.00774.x. Epub 2012 Jan 11. PubMed PMID: 22136110.
  2. Michener JK, Thodey K, Liang JC, Smolke CD. Applications of genetically-encoded biosensors for the construction and control of biosynthetic pathways. Metab Eng. 2011 Sep 18. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 21946159; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3256257.
  3. Thodey K, Smolke CD. Cell biology. Bringing it together with RNA. Science.2011 Jul 22;333(6041):412-3. PubMed PMID: 21778388.
  4. Schaffer RJ, Friel EN, Souleyre EJ, Bolitho K, Thodey K, Ledger S, et al. A genomics approach reveals that aroma production in apple is controlled by ethylene predominantly at the final step in each biosynthetic pathway. Plant Physiol. 2007;144(4):1899-912. PMCID: 1949883.
  5. Janssen BJ, Thodey K, Schaffer RJ, Alba R, Balakrishnan L, Bishop R, et al. Global gene expression analysis of apple fruit development from the floral bud to ripe fruit. BMC Plant Biol. 2008;8:16. PMCID: 2287172.
  6. Walton EF, Wu RM, Richardson AC, Davy M, Hellens RP, Thodey K, et al. A rapid transcriptional activation is induced by the dormancy-breaking chemical hydrogen cyanamide in kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa) buds. J Exp Bot. 2009;60(13):3835-48. PMCID: 2736901.