Lab news and updates:


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!!