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 Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences | Faculty | Brandon J. Cuthbertson, Ph.D.

Brandon J. Cuthbertson, Ph.D.

Research Interest:
Most recently I have worked as an adaptable leader and senior scientific contributor in the synthetic biology industry, focusing on the development of next generation biotherapeutics. This work included the development of immunomodulatory therapeutic agents, and has led to multiple active patent applications. Using cutting edge synthetic biology and gene building approaches I work with a team of scientists to make gene tools that support the production of new biotherapeutics, and biotechnology tools for microbes, plants and animals.

My career has included experiences as a scientist in academia, government and industry settings. I have also worked as an independent consultant in the biotechnology industry, and as a freelance editor for a scientific writing service.

My industry therapeutic development work is aligned with research that I led at MUSC as a PhD student, and subsequently as a research fellow at NIH/NIEHS in the laboratory of Perry Blackshear, which focused on the discovery and development of new antimicrobial therapeutics. This work led to the discovery and refinement of synthetic versions of antimicrobial peptides that specifically target human pathogens, including pathogenic microbes that are multi-drug resistant (Cuthbertson et al. 2006 – PMID 16999777, Cuthbertson et al. 2008 – PMID 17716729). Additionally, collaborators at Clemson University have applied these discoveries to the engineering of disease resistant plants (Zhou et al. 2011 – PMID 21931807, Patent application – 2011/0078820) using the same antimicrobial peptide sequences that we described as potential therapeutics (Cuthbertson et al 2002-2006, 2008). Penaeidins are the family of antimicrobial peptides that served as the model for this work, which were originally discovered in marine invertebrates.

As a research fellow at NIH/NIEHS I also investigated RNA – protein interactions that control mRNA stability. My work focused on a family of proteins that regulate a wide range of inflammatory and developmental functions in mammals, including the control of TNF-alpha expression at the post-transcriptional level. This work led to the discovery of the archetypical member of a family of RNA binding zinc-finger proteins in eukaryotes, found in the fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe), and the development of this microbe as a model for the study of the molecular mechanisms of this family of proteins.

In addition to research, discovery and development work, I have experience in high throughput process development that focused on the integration of liquid handling instrumentation, barcode scanning, and automation of molecular and synthetic biology techniques. I served in multiple industry management roles since 2008, including management of a high throughput industry production laboratory, and management of process development and gene design groups.

Currently, I enjoy providing scientific and career consultation to graduate students at MUSC, and serving as a collaborator to researchers in the Department of Biochemistry who are focused on synthetic biology and antimicrobial therapeutic discovery and development. I am open to providing consultation to on research projects, review and input on articles and grants, and continued career guidance.

Selected Publications:

Antimicrobial Therapeutics and Synthetic Biology Work
1. Cuthbertson, B. J., Deterding, L. J., Williams, J. G., et al. (2008) Dev Comp Immunol (PMID: 17716729)

2. Cuthbertson, B. J., Büllesbach, E. E. and Gross, P. S. (2006) Chem Biol Drug Des (PMID: 16999777)

3. Gueguen,Y., Garnier, J., Robert, L., Lefranc, M.., Lorgeril, J., Janech, M., Gross, P., Warr, G., Cuthbertson, B., et al. (2006) Dev Comp Immunol (PMID: 15963564)

4. Cuthbertson, B. J., Yang, Y., Bachère, E., et al. (2005) J Biol Chem (PMID: 15699044)

5. Cuthbertson, B. J., Büllesbach, E. E., Fievet, J., et al. (2004) Biochem J (PMID: 15084144)

6. Cuthbertson, B. J., Shepard, E. F., et al. (2002) Immunogenetics (PMID: 12242595)

***Zhou et al. (2011) Expression of Penaeidin 4 in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera L.) enhances plant fungal disease resistance. (PMID: 21931807). Patent application – 20110078820

Zinc-Finger Protein - RNA Interactions
1. Cuthbertson, B. J., Liao, Y. Birnbaumer, L. and Blackshear, P. J. (2008) J Biol Chem (PMID: 18042546)

2. Cuthbertson, B. J. and Blackshear, P. J. (2008) Meth Enzymol (PMID: 19215754)

Brandon J. Cuthbertson, Ph.D.

Brandon J. Cuthbertson, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Process Development
Intrexon Corporation

Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Cuthbertson's Contact Information