Jason K. Sello

Professor of Chemistry

Research Area

Contact Info

GeoChem 325401-863-1194Email[email protected] Profile

Research Statement

Members of my research group and I have been investigating new approaches to antibacterial therapy and to biofuel production that are inspired by the unique metabolites and physiology of Streptomyces bacteria. A hallmark of my program has been the synergistic application of experimental methods from synthetic organic chemistry, molecular microbiology and biochemistry. Thematically, my research has been organized around potential solutions to challenges in human health and in energy.

Solutions to Challenges in Human Health
  • Discovery of Antibiotic Resistance Genes via Genome Mining
  • Circumventing Multidrug Resistance in Bacteria
  • Improving Antibacterial Agents via Chemical Synthesis.
  • Exploiting Chemical Communication for Enhancement of Antibiotic Production.
  • Probing and Enhancing Antibiotic Production in Streptomyces bacteria.
Solutions to Challenges in Energy
  • A Microbial Platform for Conversion of Plant Biomass into Biofuels 
  • New Chemical Methods for the Production and Analysis of Biodiesel

Areas of Interest

  • Synthetic organic chemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Antibiotic mechanism and resistance
  • Drug discovery
  • Biofuels
  • Analytical chemistry


  • 2002 - Ph.D.: Harvard University
  • 1997 - B.S.: Morehouse College

Selected Publications

  • Davis, J. R., Brown, B. L., Page, R., Sello, J. K. (2013) "Study of PcaV from Streptomyces coelicolor Yields New Insights into Ligand-Responsive MarR Family Transcription Factors". Nucleic Acids Research. 41: 3888-900. PMID: 23396446
  • Davis, J. R., Goodwin, L., Teshima, H., Detter, C., Tapia, R., Han, C., Huntemann, M., Wei, C.-L., Han, J., Chen, A, Kyrpides, N., Mavrommatis, K., Szeto, E., Markowitz, V., Ivanova, N, Mikhailova, N., Ovchinnikova, G., Pagani, I., Pati, A., Woyke, T., Pitluck, S., Peters, L., Nolan, M., Land, M., Sello, J.K. (2013) "Genome Sequence of Streptomyces viridosporus T7A ATCC 39115, a Lignin-Degrading Actinomycete". Genome Announcements, 1(4): e00416-13. PMID: 23833133.
  • Compton, C. L., Schmitz, K. R., Sauer, R. T. Sello, J. K. (2013) "Antibacterial of and Resistance to Small Molecule Inhibitors of the ClpP Peptidase". ACS Chemical Biology, Epub Ahead of Print. PMID: 24047344
  • Nelson, C., Carney, D. W., Derdowski, A, Lipovsky, A, Gee, G., O'Hara, B., Williard, P., DiMaio, D., Sello, J. K., Atwood, W. (2013) "A retrograde trafficking inhibitor of ricin and shiga-like toxins inhibits infection of cells by human and monkey polyomaviruses". mBio, accepted.
  • Morin, J., Adams, K. L., Sello, J. K. (2012) "Efficient Synthesis of the γ-butyrolactone Autoinducer of Streptomyces griseus via Replication of Biosynthetic Reactions". Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 10: 1517-20. PMID: 22246070
  • Davis, J. R. Goodwin, L. A., Woyke, T. Teshima, H., Bruce, D., Detter, C., Tapia, R., Han, S., Han, J., Pitluck, S., Nolan, M., Mikhailova, N., Land, M. L. Sello, J.K. (2012) "Genome Sequence of Amycolatopsis sp. ATCC 39116, a Plant Biomass-Degrading Actinomycete". Journal of Bacteriology, 194:2396-7. PMID: 22493203
  • Totaro, K. A., Okandeji, B.O., Sello, J. K. (2012) "Use of a Multicomponent Reaction for Chemoselective Derivatization of Multiple Classes of Metabolites". ChemBiochem, 13: 987- 991. PMID: 22505051
  • Sello, J. K. (2012) "Mining the Antibiotic Resistome". Chemistry & Biology. 19: 1220-1221. PMID: 23102216
  • Okandeji, B. O., Greenwald, D. M., Wroten, J., Sello, J. K. (2011) "Synthesis and Evaluation of Inhibitors of Drug Efflux Pumps of the Major Facilitator Superfamily in Bacteria". Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 19:7679-89. PMID: 22055717
  • Carney, D., Truong, J., Sello, J. K. (2011) "Investigation of the Configurational Stabilities of Chiral Isocyanoacetates in Multicomponent Reactions". Journal of Organic Chemistry. 76: 10279-10285. PMID: 22044401
  • Davis, J. R. and Sello, J. K. (2010) "Regulation of Genes in Streptomyces Bacteria Required for Catabolism of Lignin-Derived Aromatic Compounds". Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 86:921-9. PMID: 20012281
  • Vecchione, J. J. and Sello, J. K. (2010) "Regulation of an Auxiliary, Antibiotic-Resistant Tryptophanyl-tRNA Synthetase Gene via Ribosome-Mediated Transcriptional Attenuation". Journal of Bacteriology, 192, 3565-3573. PMID: 20453096
  • Morin, J. B. and Sello, J. K. (2010) "Efficient Synthesis of a Peculiar Vicinal Diamine Pheromone from Streptomyces natalensis". Organic Letters, 12, 3522-3524. PMID: 20670016
  • Socha, A. M., Kagan, G., Li, W., Hopson, R. W., Sello, J. K., and Williard, P. G. (2010) "Diffusion coefficient-formula weight correlation analysis via DOSY NMR to examine acylglyceride mixtures and biodiesel production". Energy and Fuels, 24, 2518-2521.
  • Socha, A. M. and Sello J. K. (2010) "Efficient Conversion of Triacylglycerols and Fatty acids into Biodiesel in a Microwave Reactor Using Metal Triflate Catalysts". Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 8, 4753-4756. PMID: 20714659
  • Socha, A. M., Tan, N. Y-M., LaPlante, K. and Sello J. K. (2010) "Diversity-Oriented Synthesis of Cyclic Acyldepsipeptides Leads to the Discovery of a Potent Antibacterial Agent". Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, 18, 7193-7202. PMID: 20833054
  • Badu-Nkansah, A. and Sello, J. K. (2010) "Deletion of the Elongation Factor 4 Gene (lepA) in Streptomyces coelicolor Enhances the Production of the Calcium-Dependent Antibiotic". FEMS Microbiology Letters, 311, 146-151. PMID: 20735483
  • Okandeji, B. O. and Sello, J. K. (2009) "Brønsted Acidity of Substrates Influences the Outcome of Passerini Three Component Reactions". Journal of Organic Chemistry. 74, 5067-5070.
  • Davis, J. B., Bailey, J. D., and Sello, J. K. (2009) "A Biomimetic Synthesis of a New Class of Bacterial Signaling Molecules". Organic Letters, 11, 2984- 2987. PMID: 19545145
  • Vecchione, J. J., Alexander, B. Jr. and Sello, J. K. (2009) "Two Distinct Major Facilitator Superfamily Drug Efflux Pumps Mediate Chloramphenicol Resistance in Streptomyces coelicolor". Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 53, 4673-7. PMID: 19687245
  • Vecchione, J. J. and Sello, J. K. (2009) "A Novel Tryptophanyl-tRNA Synthetase Gene Confers High Level Resistance to Indolmycin, Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy". 53, 3972- 3980. PMID: 19546369
  • Sello, J. K. and Buttner, M. J. (2008) "The Gene encoding Ribonuclease III Gene in Streptomyces coelicolor is Transcribed During Exponential Phase and is Required for Antibiotic Production and for Proper Sporulation". Journal of Bacteriology, 190, 4079-4083. PMID: 18359817.
  • Okandeji, B. O., Gordon, J. R., and Sello, J. K. (2008) "Catalysis of Ugi Four Component Coupling Reactions by Rare Earth Metal Triflates". Journal of Organic Chemistry. 73, 5595-5597. PMID: 18570401
  • Vecchione, J. J. and Sello, J. K. (2008) "Characterization of an Inducible, Antibiotic-Resistant Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetase Gene in Streptomyces coelicolor". Journal of Bacteriology, 190, 6253-6257. PMID: 18621902
  • Sello, J. K. and Buttner, M. J. (2008) "The Oligoribonuclease Gene in Streptomyces coelicolor is not Transcriptionally or Translationally Coupled to adpA, a key bldA target". FEMS Microbiology Letters, 286, 60-65. PMID: 18625025