University of Wisconsin–Madison

Tim S. Bugni, PhD

Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy


6111 Rennebohm Hall

Lab Website
Bugni Lab

Tim Bugni

Research Interests

Tim Bugni’s research interests are marine natural products chemistry, symbiotic microorganisms, drug discovery, metabolomics, and NMR and MS for structure elucidation of novel natural products.

Genetically encoded small molecules, natural products, have been a valuable source of therapeutics particularly in the areas of cancer and infectious disease. However, discovering novel natural products has become significantly more difficult even though whole genome sequencing has shown that only a small fraction of microbial-produced natural products have been discovered. To overcome these difficulties, we are utilizing under-explored niches for bacterial cultivation and developing metabolomics approaches to enable discovery of novel natural products. We have cultivated bacteria from marine invertebrates such as sponges and ascidians. Many of these bacteria show great promise as sources of novel therapeutics. Using metabolomics, we prioritize the most promising strains for discovery of novel natural products as therapeutics in the areas of neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease, and cancer. For additional information, please see the lab website.

The overarching goal of our long-term research plan is to develop diverse natural product libraries from unique microbes for the purposes of drug discovery. Identification of novel therapeutic leads provides opportunities for synthetic modification to understand and relate the structure to a biological response and alter the pharmacological properties. Exploring lead compounds not only in terms of drug development, but also in terms of chemical biology and molecular pharmacology will provide opportunities to produce chemical probes that can be used to investigate cellular function.

Selected Publictions

  • Tianero, M. D.; Kwan, J. C.; Wyche, T. P.; Presson, A. P.; Koch, M.; Barrows, L. R.; Bugni, T. S.; Schmidt, E. W. “Species specificity of symbiosis and secondary metabolism in ascidians.” ISME J. 2015, 9, 615-628. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Hou, Y.; Braun, D.; Deshpande, R.; Mcllwain, S.; Ong, I. M.; Myers, C. L.; Guzei, I. A.; Westler, W. M.; Andes, D. R.; Bugni, T. S. “Forazoline A: a marine-derived polyketide with antifungal in vivo efficacy.” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2014, 53, 11583-11586. Link
  • Wyche, T. P.; Fry, C. G.; Standiford, M.; Hou, Y.; Braun, D.; Johnson, D. A.; Johnson, J. A.; Bugni, T. S. “Activation of the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 pathway by novel natural products halomadurones A-D and a synthetic analogue.” Marine Drugs 2013, 11, 5089-5099. Link
  • Li, Q.; Xu, Y.-S.; Ellis, G. A.; Bugni, T. S.; Tang, Y.; Hsung, R. P. “Total syntheses of proposed (+/-)-Trichodermatide B and C.” Tetrahedron Lett. 2013, 54, 5567-5572. Link
  • Zhou, M.; Hou, Y.; Hamza, A.; Zhan, C.-G.; Bugni, T. S.; Thorson, J. S. “Probing the regiospecificity of enzyme-catalyzed steroid glycosylation.” Org. Lett., 2012, 14, 5424-5427. Link