Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Member of the Chemical Biology Institute
Member of Yale faculty since 2012
Research The Crawford laboratory will focus on developing and systematically applying genome sequence-based methods for the discovery of genetically encoded small molecules from mutualistic and pathogenic microorganisms. High-throughput genome sequencing of bacteria and fungi has revealed many highly unusual “orphan” biosynthetic gene clusters suspected of synthesizing novel, structurally diverse, and biologically active small molecules. These types of naturally produced molecules often regulate complex interactions with their animal hosts, hold a rich history of being utilized as human drugs, and serve as excellent molecular probes for identifying new drug targets for a wide variety of diseases. Using a blend of small molecule chemistry, protein biochemistry, and microbiology, the lab will exploit the natural interactions between bacteria and animals to discover new molecules with signaling, antimicrobial, immunosuppressant, and anticancer activities, connect them to their underlying biosynthetic gene clusters, characterize and engineer the biosynthetic enzymes involved in their construction, and investigate their roles in biology and medicine.
Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University, 2007
Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, 2007-2011
Sarah and Adolph Roseman Achievement Award, Johns Hopkins University, 2007
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harvard Medical School, 2009-2011
Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine Postdoctoral Fellows Travel Award, 2010
National Institutes of Health Pathway to Independence Award, 2011
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Dale F. Frey Award for Breakthrough Scientists, 2012
J.M. Crawford, B.C.E. Dancy, E.A. Hill, D.W. Udwary, & C.A. Townsend. Identification of a starter unit acyl-carrier protein transacylase domain in an iterative type I polyketide synthase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2006, 103, 16728-16733.
J.M. Crawford, P.M. Thomas, J.R. Scheerer, A.L. Vagstad, N.L. Kelleher, & C.A. Townsend. Deconstruction of iterative multidomain polyketide synthase function. Science. 2008, 320, 243-246. Perspective: Science. 2008, 320, 186-187; Research Highlights: Nature Rev. Micro. 2008, 6, 414-415; Concentrates: Chem. Eng. News. 2008, 86, 50-51.
J.M. Crawford,* T.P. Korman,* J.W. Labonte, A.L. Vagstad, E.A. Hill, O. Kamari-Bidkorpeh, S.-C. Tsai, & C.A. Townsend. Structural basis for biosynthetic programming of fungal aromatic polyketide cyclization. Nature. 2009, 461, 1139-1143. News & Views: Nature. 2009, 461, 1068-1069; Research Highlights: Nature Rev. Micro. 2009, 7, 842; Highlight: ChemBioChem. 2010, 11, 485-488. Highlight: SSRL Science Highlights. 2010, March 31.
J.M. Crawford,* R. Kontnik,* & J. Clardy. Regulating alternative lifestyles in entomopathogenic bacteria. Curr. Biol. 2010, 20, 69-74. Cover article: Signaling in a Trilateral Symbiosis; Dispatch: Curr. Biol. 2010, 20, R13-15; Focus: Harvard Focus. 2010. Feb 5.
A. D’Onofrio,* J.M. Crawford,* E.J. Stewart, K. Witt, E. Gavrish, S. Epstein, J. Clardy, & K. Lewis. Siderophores from neighboring organisms promote the growth of uncultured bacteria. Chem. Biol. 2010, 17, 254-264. Cover article: Culturing the Uncultured; The Loom: Discover Magazine. 2010, March 26; Hidden Jewels: Faculty of 1000 Top 7 Hidden Jewels (#2). 2010, Oct 26; Feature: Microbe Magazine. 2010. Aug.
* Co-first authors