James Smith


Fax: 979-845-2891

Smith Lab Webpage

3258 TAMU
Biological Sciences Building East
Room 314D

Biological Sciences Building East
Rooms 318 and 320

Joined the Department in 2010

  • B.S., 1996, Florida State University, Biology and Secondary Science Math Teaching.
  • M.B.A., 2002, University of Florida,Gainesville, Finance/Competitive Strategy.
  • Ph.D. 2002, University of Florida, Gainesville, Biochemistry/Microbiology.
  • Postdoctoral research: Oragenics Inc.
  • Prior faculty appointment: Mississippi State University.

Discovery and Characterization of Novel Antimicrobial Agents

The discovery of novel antimicrobials and the study of antimicrobial function have significant relevance towards the development of therapeutics aimed at treating life threatening diseases. However, much of what we have learned about protein synthesis, DNA replication, enzyme function, as well as membrane physiology comes from the study of antimicrobials. Our knowledge of cellular and membrane physiology is still limited and there is much we need to learn. The discovery and structural and functional characterization of new antimicrobial agents will provide new insights into cellular and membrane function, as well as provide means to intellectually design new analogs that target microbial function. The discovery of new enzymes involved in natural product synthesis also provides invaluable information in understanding the complexity of microorganisms and provides tools for synthetic chemistry applications.

  1. Hansanant, N, Cao, K, Tenorio, A, Joseph, T, Ju, M, McNally, N et al.. Previously Uncharacterized Variants, OCF-E-OCF-J, of the Antifungal Occidiofungin Produced by Burkholderia contaminans MS14. J Nat Prod. 2024;87 (2):186-194. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.3c00777. PubMed PMID:38277493 PubMed Central PMC10897925.
  2. Cothrell, A, Cao, K, Bonasera, R, Tenorio, A, Orugunty, R, Smith, L et al.. Intravaginal Gel for Sustained Delivery of Occidiofungin and Long-Lasting Antifungal Effects. Gels. 2023;9 (10):. doi: 10.3390/gels9100787. PubMed PMID:37888361 PubMed Central PMC10606712.
  3. Barbour, A, Smith, L, Oveisi, M, Williams, M, Huang, RC, Marks, C et al.. Discovery of phosphorylated lantibiotics with proimmune activity that regulate the oral microbiome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023;120 (22):e2219392120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2219392120. PubMed PMID:37216534 PubMed Central PMC10235938.
  4. Ju, M, Joseph, T, Hansanant, N, Geng, M, Williams, M, Cothrell, A et al.. Evaluation of analogs of mutacin 1140 in systemic and cutaneous methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection models in mice. Front Microbiol. 2022;13 :1067410. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1067410. PubMed PMID:36590413 PubMed Central PMC9794991.
  5. Geng, M, Hansanant, N, Lu, SE, Lockless, SW, Shin, R, Orugunty, R et al.. Synthesis and characterization of semisynthetic analogs of the antifungal occidiofungin. Front Microbiol. 2022;13 :1056453. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1056453. PubMed PMID:36583054 PubMed Central PMC9792986.
  6. Hansanant, N, Smith, L. Occidiofungin: Actin Binding as a Novel Mechanism of Action in an Antifungal Agent. Antibiotics (Basel). 2022;11 (9):. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics11091143. PubMed PMID:36139923 PubMed Central PMC9494966.
  7. Deng, P, Jia, J, Foxfire, A, Baird, SM, Smith, LJ, Lu, SE et al.. A Polyketide Synthetase Gene Cluster Is Responsible for Antibacterial Activity of Burkholderia contaminans MS14. Phytopathology. 2023;113 (1):11-20. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-03-22-0106-R. PubMed PMID:35913221 .
  8. Foxfire, A, Buhrow, AR, Orugunty, RS, Smith, L. Drug discovery through the isolation of natural products from Burkholderia. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2021;16 (7):807-822. doi: 10.1080/17460441.2021.1877655. PubMed PMID:33467922 PubMed Central PMC9844120.
  9. Ravichandran, A, Escano, J, Lee, JH, Ross, MK, Austin, F, Orugunty, R et al.. Formulation, Pharmacological Evaluation, and Efficacy Studies of Occidiofungin, a Novel Antifungal. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2020;64 (12):. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01737-20. PubMed PMID:32958713 PubMed Central PMC7674058.
  10. Barbour, A, Wescombe, P, Smith, L. Evolution of Lantibiotic Salivaricins: New Weapons to Fight Infectious Diseases. Trends Microbiol. 2020;28 (7):578-593. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2020.03.001. PubMed PMID:32544444 .
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