Dr Josie Parker
Lecturer in Biochemistry (T&R)
Cytochrome P450s (CYPs)
CYPs are haem containing enzymes that are essential enzymes in many pathways but can also be involved in secondary metabolism in some organisms. They are targeted by inhibitors such as antifungal and chemotherapy agents and their capabilities can be harvested for biotechnology. I study the targeting of CYPs by inhibitors in medical and agricultural applications and investigate their physiological function. In particular my research has led to discoveries in antifungal resistance and the treatment of fungal infections in both medicine and agriculture.
I am particularly interested in the function of CYPs in infectious diseases and as ‘druggable’ targets and am also interested in the production of drugs, antibiotics and high value chemicals with biotechnological applications using these enzymes.
I studied for my Genetics undergraduate degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and went on to complete a PhD on microbial cytochrome P450s in 2006. During my time as a postdoctoral researcher at Swansea University (2005-2021) I worked on a variety of projects involving the structure and function of cytochrome P450s. In particular I studied drug targets and associated enzymes - investigating the mechanisms of antifungal resistance in both medical and agricultural disease and novel antifungal compounds for the treatment of drug-resistant infections.
I moved to Cardiff University as a Lecturer in July 2022.
- Member of the Royal Society of Biology
- Member of the Biochemical Society
- Member of the Microbiology Society
- Member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
2022 Lecturer in Biochemistry, Cardiff University
2018-2022 Senior Post-doctoral Researcher, Swansea University - Azole resistance in Candida spp.
2015 - 2018 Post-doctoral Research Officer, Swansea University - ERDF project - ‘BEACON+’
2010 - 2015 Post-doctoral Researcher Officer, Swansea University - ERDF project - ‘BEACON’
2008 - 2010 Post-doctoral Research Associate, Swansea University - BBSRC project - Triazole resistance in Mycosphaerella graminicola
2005 - 2008 Post-doctoral Research Associate, Swansea University - EU FP6 project - 'SterolTalk'
Committees and reviewing
- Grant reviewer, BBSRC and Science Foundation Ireland
- Journal peer reviewer, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy; Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry; Pesticide Management Science, Plos One, Journal of Fungi, FEMS letters.
- BI1001 Skills for Science
- BI1014 Biological Chemistry
- BI1051 Genetics and Evolution (Recombinant DNA Technology)
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Molecular investigation of Cytochrome P450s (CYPs) and antifungal resistance
My research is focused on Cytochrome P450s (CYPs) and antifungal resistance.
Cytochrome P450 (CYPs) are haem containing enzymes. Several thousand CYP proteins have been identified belonging to hundreds of different families. Some have essential roles in metabolism (for example in the production of sterols and steroid hormones) and in the biotransformation of drugs and xenobiotics (such as those CYPs in mammalian livers). In bacteria and fungi some P450s have been found to be essential for growth on unusual carbon sources, such as camphor and alkanes. They are also involved in secondary metabolism and the production of important natural products such as antibiotics and virulence factors such as siderophores in microorganisms.
The essentiality of some CYPs in metabolic pathways has been exploited for the use of chemotherapy, including the target of azole antifungals and the target for aromatase inhibitors in cancer treatment. CYPs therefore present an attractive good ‘druggable’ targets, their interaction with inhibitors is well understood and they may be useful for targeting other diseases in the future.
Some prokaryotic species have very large numbers of CYPs and the function of many of them is not yet known or understood. Research on CYPs aids the understanding of infection/virulence, resistance to existing antimicrobial drugs and the means to produce new antimicrobial drugs. In addition, as the physiological functions of CYPs are resolved there is the possibility that they will provide new antimicrobial targets in infectious organisms.
Research in my laboratory is currently centred on two main themes:
- Understanding the molecular basis of azole resistance in fungal infections
- Investigating the physiological role of CYPs of ‘unknown function’ in microorganisms