American Society of Pharmacognosy announces Paper of the Year – Sorensen chemistry lab

The Sorensen lab back-to-back papers in the Journal of Natural Products were selected by the editors for the Arthur E. Schwarting Award for Paper of the Year in 2018.

The announcement was made public July 2, 2019 in the American Society of Pharmacognosy newsletter.

As the American Society of Pharmacognosy newsletter reports:

Dr. Sorensen’s award-winning paper represents the first genome sequencing and annotation of gene clusters that code for natural product biosynthesis in a lichen-forming fungus. He noted,

“Our primary interest is the well-known lichen natural product usnic acid, with the goal of identifying the gene cluster responsible for biosynthesis of this molecule. We chose a strain of Cladonia uncials that was known only to produce usnic acid as well felt that this improved our chances of success. We carried out the genome sequencing of this strain of C. uncials and scanned the assembled genome for the presence of glen clusters that seemed to code for natural product biosynthesis.” He hopes that these observations that lichen fungi, similar to non-lichen fungi, harbor a number of “cryptic” biosynthetic pathways may help to generate some interest in this under examined group of fungi.

Dr. Sorensen, who is at the department of chemistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, went on to say, “For me the best part of receiving this award was the recognition of the amount of hard work and effort that my two students, Robert and Mona, put into this project. I have to say we were all very thrilled we received the news. I am very grateful to the ASP for selecting us for this award.”

The Sorensen lab will receive the award at the 2019 American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual General Meeting, held July 13-17, in Madison Wisconsin