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Lab news and updates:

Dec. 2, 2022 - Shaun travels down to beautiful San Luis Obispo to talk about some vanadium enzymology to Cal Poly SLO! Huge thanks Prof. Katie Watts for the invitation and great to see former alumnus Linnea! 

Nov. 18, 2022 - Huge congratulations to Mel for being awarded a 2022-2023 Koret Undergraduate Research Scholarship! Excited to keep evolving some enzymes together!

Nov. 10, 2022 - A good chunk of the lab goes up to the Bay Area Chemistry Symposium (BACS) at UC Berkeley to connect with our greater Bay Area academic and industry chemists! Austin did a phenomenal job representing the lab during his talk about substrate-dependent reactivity of dioxygenase enzymes! 

Nov. 8, 2022 - Adam and Olivia give great presentations in their PBSE rotation talks - great work all! 

Oct. 14, 2022 - Huge congratulations to Amelia for her Fink symposium undergraduate research award! 

Oct. 13, 2022 - The McKinnie lab welcomes Lukas Varga to the lab as an undergraduate researcher!

Sept. 30, 2022 - The McKinnie lab wishes Karina the best of luck at her new position at Gilead! Thanks for all your hard work Karina and don't be a stranger!

Sept. 26, 2022 - The McKinnie lab welcomes two PBSE rotation students - Adam Lentz (METX track), and Olivia Matsumoto-Elliott (CB3 track)! Excited to work with you all for the next seven weeks!

Sept. 12, 2022 - Back to back welcome conferences with Shaun helping to organize the 2022 PBSE Fall Research Conference at Roaring Camp in Felton! Jenny and Jackson gave great posters and Prof. Lara Mahal gave a remarkable keynote presentation about glycobiology, microRNAs, and their impact on disease!

Sept. 9, 2022 - The lab helps welcome the incoming UCSC chemistry PhD and MSc students at the Fall Conference! Austin and Jenny both gave great talks on understanding and applying neurotoxin enzymology and Radcliff gave an excellent poster on some paired 'omics data in actinobacteria!

Sept. 2, 2022 - Shaun travels up to CSU Chico to meet the awesome faculty and students and talk about guanitoxin biosynthesis discovery and enzymatic applications!

Aug. 26, 2022 - Mel gives a great presentation on their summer undergraduate research project at the UCSC STEM Diversity poster session! Incredibly excited to continue evolving some enzymes throughout the academic year! 

Aug. 15, 2022 - Huge welcome to Manasi Natu who officially joins our lab as a junior specialist for the upcoming year! Welcome aboard Manasi!

Aug. 11, 2022 - Alondra gives an excellent presentation and poster at the UCSC ACCESS program Symposium! Huge congrats Alondra on all your hard work this summer!

July 11, 2022 - The McKinnie lab gets a notice of award for their NIGMS R35 grant on identifying, characterizing, and applying bacterial site-specific vanadium dependent haloperoxidase enzymes! Thrilled for the financial support to continue investigating these cool enzymes!

July 1, 2022 - The McKinnie lab welcomes undergraduate student Mel Jones to the lab as a part of the UC LEADS program sponsored by the UCSC STEM Diversity programs! Incredibly excited to work with them and play around with some enzyme evolution!

June 20, 2022 - The McKinnie lab welcomes Hartnell College undergraduate student Alondra Maranon Rodriguez for the next seven weeks thanks to the UCSC ACCESS program!

June 14, 2022 - Shaun is honored to receive one of the inaugural Koret Scholar Mentoring Awards - huge thanks Amelia for the nomination, it's been an absolute pleasure to work with you over the past year!

June 2, 2022 - Jenny and Austin give an awesome tag-team toxin talk on our recent guanitoxin biosynthesis paper at our cyanobacterial-themed UCSC SMComm

June 1, 2022 - Karina gives an awesome MSc capstone seminar on enzymatic bioremediation of PET plastics

May 27, 2022 - Amelia gives an excellent poster presentation on her latest work at the Koret Undergraduate Research Scholar Symposium

May 25, 2022 - Austin completes his third year talk and becomes our second ever PhD candidate - congratulations Austin!

May 23, 2022 - Jackson completes his third year talk and becomes the McKinnie lab's first ever PhD candidate! Great job Jackson!

May 18, 2022 - The McKinnie lab is thrilled to be a part of an international collaboration with the Fiore (University of São Paulo, Brazil), and Moore (UCSD) labs and fully elucidate the biosynthesis of the potent freshwater cyanobacterial neurotoxin guanitoxin! Find it on our publications page or on the JACS website!

May 14, 2022 - The McKinnie lab migrates up the coast to attend the Chemical Biology in the Bay Area Day at UCSF! Jackson gave an excellent presentation on the chemical ecology of some new vanadium enzymes, and Jenny won a poster prize! Great outing and amazing to connect with our regional chemical biology community!

May 9, 2022 - Jenny crushes her second year qualifying exam!

Apr. 5, 2022 - Shaun drags everyone up to San Jose to watch the lab's first Oilers hockey game! 

March 19, 2022 - A good chunk of the McKinnie lab roadtrips down to San Diego for the American Chemical Society spring conference! Jenny presented an awesome seminar in the Biocatalysis and Biologically related processes division, and Austin and Jackson gave enthusiastic poster presentations!

March 17, 2022 - We are incredibly excited to welcome Radcliff Huffman to the McKinnie lab! Radcliff has a strong background in  neuroscience and animal behavior in response to chemical cues, and is looking to complement these skill sets with some chemical and biochemical techniques! Huge welcome Radcliff!

March 6, 2022 - Jackson and Shaun head down the coast to Ventura to attend the Marine Natural Products Gordon Research Conference! So rewarding to attend in person conferences again and reconnect with our global natural products community! 

March 3, 2022 - The UC Santa Cruz Specialized Metabolite Community holds its first seminar! UCSC SMComm is focused on connecting our local natural products community and hearing from current trainees, visiting researchers, PIs and any other natural product aficionados. Jackson gave an excellent seminar to help kick off this inaugural event!

Jan. 3, 2022 - Welcome to Winter quarter Chemistry rotation students Addis Getahun, Sarah Levy, and Leila Parker!

Jan. 2, 2022 - Shaun heads to the 2022 Enzyme Mechanism Conference in Tucson, Arizona to talk about some neurotoxin enzymology! Awesome first conference as an independent PI - huge thanks to Prof. van der Donk and all other organizers for putting together this event!

Dec. 7, 2021 - Huge congratulations to Amelia for being selected as a 2021-2022 Koret Scholar! Amazing job Amelia, we're all super proud of you and excited for what you'll discover this year! 

Nov. 15, 2021 - Welcome to CB3 rotation student Casey Heaney who will rotate with us for the next seven weeks!

Sept. 25, 2021 - The McKinnie lab welcomes CB3 rotation student Radcliff Huffman for the next seven weeks!

Sept. 22, 2021 - Welcome to Chemistry rotation student Allyson McAtamney who will work with us for Fall quarter!

Sept. 9, 2021 - Jenny gives an excellent talk on some mechanistic enzymology at the Specialized Metabolite Community (SMComm)!

Aug. 24, 2021 - First fully independent McKinnie lab publication! Huge congratulations to Jackson for his mSystems commentary describing our past and future plans to understand the role of bacterial vanadium-dependent haloperoxidase enzymology in natural product biosynthesis and chemical ecology! Find it on our publications page or open access on the ASM website!

Aug. 12, 2021 - Linnea gives an excellent presentation summarizing all her hard work characterizing the mechanism of a unique neurotoxin enzyme at the UCSC ACCESS program Symposium! Great work Linnea!

July 5, 2021 - The McKinnie lab welcomes UC Los Angeles undergraduate student Hanna Fleming to the lab for the summer! Thrilled to have her investigate some vanadium enzymes with us!

June 22, 2021 - The McKinnie lab welcomes Cabrillo College undergraduate student Linnea Blaustein for the next seven weeks thanks to the UCSC ACCESS program!

June 21, 2021 - Great job to Austin for passing his second year qualifying exam - Congratulations!

May 17, 2021 - Huge congratulations to Jackson for passing his second year qualifying exam - and on his birthday no less! Great job Jackson!

March 25, 2021 - The McKinnie lab is thrilled to welcome Jennifer Cordoza to the team! Jenny brings a strong background in natural product isolation from the Maloney lab at PLNU and has already made some great advances investigating some unique PLP enzymology! Welcome Jenny!

February 4, 2021 - Austin gives a great seminar on algal neurotoxin enzymology at the Specialized Metabolite Community (SMComm)!

February 1, 2021 - The McKinnie lab welcomes CB3 rotation student Panpan Zhang for the next seven weeks!


January 15, 2021 - Shaun (virtually) travels to Montreal to give a talk at the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Concordia University! Thanks to Dr. Brandon Findlay for the invitation, it was great meeting your lab and colleagues!

January 4, 2021 - Huge congratulations to Josh Marquez for his recent highlight in the UCSC Chemistry and Biochemistry department Undergraduate Student Spotlight! You can find his interview here! Great job Josh, we're all incredibly proud of you!

December 14, 2020 - The McKinnie lab welcomes chemistry rotation student Zhilian Liu for the next two months!

November 23, 2020 - The McKinnie lab welcomes CB3 rotation students Jennifer Cordoza and Cristobal Morfin for the next seven weeks!

November 11, 2020 - The McKinnie lab takes a quick virtual trip overseas to give a talk at Queen's University Belfast! Huge thanks to Dr. Stephen Cochrane for the invitation and hopefully we'll get to have an in person visit in the future!

September 25, 2020 - Jackson gives an excellent talk during the 2020 Chemistry Department Fall Conference and even got a nice shout-out from keynote speaker Dr. Andy Borovik!

September 18, 2020 - The McKinnie lab gives its first (virtual) invited research talk at the University of North Carolina Greensboro! Huge thanks to Dr. Jon Chekan for the invitation, and Dr. Shabnam Hematian for the great conversations! I'm looking forward to visiting UNCG in person in the future!

September 10, 2020 - Austin gives a great virtual poster during the online PBSE research conference!

September 1, 2020 - The McKinnie lab turns 1 and gets a great present from UCSC and local firefighters and first responders - re-entry back onto campus and into the lab! HUGE thank you for keeping us all safe! 

August 19, 2020 - It is with a heavy heart that the McKinnie lab shuts down and evacuates Santa Cruz due to the nearby CZU lightning complex wildfires. We thoroughly appreciate the heroic efforts of all the firefighters and first responders that are keeping UCSC and Santa Cruz safe from danger. Stay safe and healthy everyone!

June 30, 2020 - A comprehensive and collaborative Natural Product Reports review between the McKinnie, George (University of Adelaide) and Moore (UCSD) labs summarizes the isolation, structure elucidation, biological activity, biosynthesis, and chemical and enzymatic syntheses of an entire family of meroterpenoids! Find it here.

June 29, 2020 - Small peptide, big activity! A cryptic tripeptide in yellow scorpion toxin is shown to activate various beneficial cardiovascular signalling pathways in a recent Journal of Proteome Research article! Congratulations to the Pimenta and Verano-Braga labs and thanks for including our contribution from Shaun's PhD work! Find the article here.

June 16, 2020 - The McKinnie lab opens up again in accordance with all COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines.

June 2, 2020 - All about Nocardia! A collaborative paper with the Zeimert and Kaysser labs (University of Tubingen) and Moore lab (UCSD) that connects genomics to metabolomics in this pathogenic actinobacterial genus appears in mSystems! Find it here.

June 1, 2020 - The UCSC Committee on Research generously approved the McKinnie lab's Faculty Research Grant! Time to buy some HILIC columns!

May 26, 2020 - Old fold, new tricks! Our paper on the X-ray crystal structure of DabA, the N-prenyltransferase involved in domoic acid biosynthesis that possesses a terpene cyclase-like fold, appears in PNAS! Find it here.

Mar. 20, 2020 - A collaborative paper describing the nonlinear biosynthesis of alpiniamide from an unusual NRPS-PKS system appears in ACS Chemical Biology! Find it here.

Mar. 16, 2020 - Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the McKinnie lab will be working from home for the foreseeable future. Our work is not immediately essential to society right now, but staying safe and healthy definitely is.

Mar. 16, 2020 - The McKinnie lab is thrilled to welcome Jackson Baumgartner and Austin Hopiavuori as its inaugural PhD students! Honored to have the opportunity to mentor, collaborate, and make exciting new discoveries with them over the next few years!

Feb. 6, 2020 - McKinnie lab is fully cleared by EH&S to start work!


Jan. 27, 2020 - Welcome CB3 rotation students Jackson Baumgartner and Austin Hopiavuori for the next seven weeks!

Jan. 15, 2020 - Goodbye anatoxin-a(s) and hello guanitoxin! Our new perspective article explaining why this potent cyanobacterial neurotoxin needs a new name appears in Harmful Algae! Find it here.


Jan. 6, 2020 - A fun interdisciplinary study about antibiotics produced by cavity-causing Streptococcus bacteria is out in ACS Infectious Diseases! Find it here.

Jan. 1, 2020 - The McKinnie lab is beyond honored to receive a 2020 Thieme Chemistry Journals Award as selected by the editorial boards of Synthesis, Synlett and Synfacts! This award is presented to early-stage independent career investigators as a 'sign of recognition and career encouragement.' The full list of all awardees can be found here.

Dec. 10, 2019 - The UCSC Committee on Research generously approved the McKinnie lab's New Faculty Research Grant! Time to buy some bacterial strains!

Nov. 15, 2019 - Shaun gives an ACCESS program-sponsored seminar on his postdoc work at Cabrillo College (Aptos, CA)!

Nov. 7, 2019 - First McKinnie lab group meeting!

Sept. & Oct. 2019 - Welcome to five talented undergraduate students: Elise, Ethan, Griffin, Josh, and Mano! Excited to get the lab set up and do some great science with this team!

Sept. 16, 2019 - A collaborative paper between the Qian (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology), Zhang (UC Berkeley), and Moore (UCSD) labs describing a novel bioactive colibactin derivative that causes copper-dependent double stranded DNA breaks is out in Nature Chemistry! Find it here.

Sept. 1, 2019 - The McKinnie lab at UC Santa Cruz is founded!!

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