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Diverse Minds Seminar Series: Combining Synthetic Chemistry and Biology for Streamlining Access to Complex Molecules | Dr. Hans Renata (Rice University)

Friday, January 13, 2023
2:00pm to 3:30pm
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Noyes 153 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)
Combining Synthetic Chemistry and Biology for Streamlining Access to Complex Molecules
Dr. Hans Renata, Associate Professor, Rice University,

The Donna and Benjamin M. Rosen Bioengineering Center at Caltech is hosting Dr. Hans Renata, Associate Professor at Rice University, who will be giving a Diverse Minds Seminar on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 2:00 PM in 153 Noyes.

Dr. Renata will give a technical talk about his research followed by a personal talk focusing on his journey into science.
Please note: This is an in-person event, open to Caltech faculty, staff, postdocs and students. Registration is required. Follow this link to register.

To sign up to meet the speaker at a trainee coffee hour on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at 4 p.m., visit

Combining Synthetic Chemistry and Biology for Streamlining Access to Complex Molecules

Abstract: By virtue of their unrivaled selectivity profiles, enzymes possess remarkable potential to address unsolved challenges in chemical synthesis. The realization of this potential, however, has only recently gained traction. Recent advances in enzyme engineering and genome mining have provided a powerful platform for identifying and optimizing enzymatic transformations for synthetic applications and allowed us to begin formulating novel synthetic strategies and disconnections. This talk will describe our recent efforts in developing a new design language in chemical synthesis that centers on the incorporation of biocatalytic approaches in contemporary synthetic logic. Case studies will focus on the use of this platform in the chemoenzymatic syntheses of complex natural products and also highlight how this platform could serve as a starting point to enable further biological and medicinal chemistry discoveries.

Bio: Hans Renata was born in Surabaya, Indonesia. After completing his high school education in Singapore, he moved to the US and received his B.A. degree from Columbia University in 2008, conducting research under the tutelage of Professor Tristan H. Lambert. He earned his Ph.D. from The Scripps Research Institute in 2013 under the guidance of Professor Phil S. Baran. In his graduate thesis, Hans completed the synthesis of a polyhydroxylated cardiac glycoside, ouabagenin, and developed a range of corticosteroid analogues bearing hydroxylation at the C19 position. In 2013, he began his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of Professor Frances H. Arnold at the California Institute of Technology. Hans joined the faculty at The Scripps Research Institute Florida in the summer of 2016 and was promoted to the rank of associate professor with tenure in 2022. In July 2022, Hans moved his laboratory to Rice University, where he is currently a faculty member.

The Diverse Minds seminar series is a campus-wide program that aims to provide a platform for distinguished speakers from a diversity of backgrounds to share their science and personal journey into science with the Caltech Community. These seminars aim to educate, inspire, and initiate purposeful discussion. Caltech recognizes that diverse perspectives and experiences benefit everyone and by intentionally inviting speakers from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds Caltech can continue to cultivate a community that values equity, inclusion, and embraces the power of diversity in STEM.

For more information, please contact Dr. Melissa Ramirez by email at [email protected] or visit