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Lesley-Ann Giddings

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Headshot of Lesley-Ann Giddings, assistant professor of chemistry


Ford Hall 013


Lesley-Ann Giddings is a natural products biochemist interested in: 1) bioprospecting extreme environments (e.g., acid rock drainage) for new bioactive agents produced by microbes; as well as 2) understanding the enzymology behind the assembly of these novel pharmacophores. Her lab approaches these problems by using culture-dependent and culture independent methods (i.e., next-generation sequencing) to identify secondary metabolites. She also uses basic biochemical techniques, including protein purification and enzyme kinetics, to characterize enzymes involved in secondary metabolic pathways.

Current projects include exploring connections between metal resistance genes and biosynthetic gene clusters to find new bioactive secondary metabolites in metal-contaminated environments. She also characterizes enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of siderophores, metal-chelating secondary metabolites, that help microorganisms thrive in iron-limiting environments. Characterizing these enzymes is important as they can be: 1) used for biocatalysis; 2) used in the synthesis of clinically approved siderophores and analogs; and 3) exploited as drug targets to prevent the virulence of human pathogens. Her lab’s overall goals are to explore connections between the ecology of an environment and bioactivity as well as understand how microbial secondary metabolites are made.

Selected Publications

(*student coauthors)

Lesley-Ann Giddings, George Chlipala, Kevin Kunstman, Stefan Green, *Katherine Morillo, *Kieran Bhave, Holly Peterson, Heather Driscoll, and Mark Maienschein-Cline. Characterization of an Acid Rock Drainage Microbiome and Transcriptome at the Ely Copper Mine Superfund Site. PLoS ONE, In Press 2020.

Lesley-Ann Giddings and David J. Newman. Bioactive Compounds from Extremophilic Marine Fungi. In Fungi in Extreme Environments: Ecological and Biotechnological Significance. Sonia M. Tiquia-Arashiro and Martin Grube, Eds. Springer: Cham, Germany, 2019.

Lesley-Ann Giddings and David J. Newman. Microbial involvement in the Production of Natural Products by Plants, Marine Invertebrates and other organisms. In Frontiers in Natural Products Chemistry, Vol 3; Atta-ur-Rahman, Ed. Bentham Science Publishers Limited: Sharjah, UAE, 2017.

Lesley-Ann Giddings and David J. Newman. Bioactive Compounds from Marine Extremophiles. Springer Briefs in Microbiology: Extremophilic Bacteria; Sonia M. Tiquia-Arashiro and Melanie Mormile, Eds. Springer: Cham, Germany, 2015.


Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
B.A., Smith College

Personal website

Selected Works in Smith ScholarWorks