Short CV/Education and training

  • 1975 – 1978
    Illinois Institute of Technology, B.S., Chemistry

  • 1979 – 1985
    St. Louis University, PhD, Biochemie

  • 1985 – 1986
    Washington State University, Postdoctoral Fellow

  • 1996
    Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, postdoctoral qualification (Habilitation), Biochemie

  • 1997
    Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, Venia Legendi, Biochemistry

  • 1999 – 2006
    Department head (Natural Product Biotechnology), Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, and concurrently professor (C4) of biochemistry / biotechnology, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

  • 2005 – 2006
    Business manager, Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry

  • since 2006
    Member/ Principal Investigator, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

  • since 2006
    Adjunct Professor, Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, USA

Selected publications

  • Nomura, T., Lara Quesada, A., Kutchan, T.M.: The new Beta-D-glucosidase in terpenoid-isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis in Psychotria ipecacuanha. In: J. Biol. Chem. 283, 2008. S. 34650-34659.

  • Gesell, A. et al.: CYP719B1 is salutaridine synthase, the phenol-coupling enzyme of morphine biosynthesis in opium poppy. In: J. Biol. Chem. 284, 2009. S. 24432-24442.

  • Grobe, N. et al.: Mammalian cytochrome P450 enzymes catalyze the phenol-coupling step in endogenous morphine biosynthesis. In: J. Biol. Chem. 284, 2009. S. 24425-24431.

  • Nomura, T., Kutchan, T.M.: Three new O-methyltransferases are sufficient for all O-methylation reactions of Ipecac alkaloid biosynthesis in root culture of Psychotria ipecacuanha. In: J. Biol. Chem. 285, 2010. S. 7722-7738.

  • Grobe, N. et al.: Urinary excretion of morphine and biosynthetic precursors in mice. In: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107, 2010. S. 8147-8152.

  • Higashi, Y, Kutchan, T.M., Smith, T.J.: The atomic structure of salutaridine reductase from the opium poppy Papaver somniferum. In: J. Biol. Chem., 2010. doi:10.1074/ jbc.M110.168633.

Membership in scientific bodies/juries


  • Scientific Advisory Committee Member, William L. Brown Center for Plant Genetic Resources of the Missouri Botanical Garden

  • Member of the Norman Farnsworth Research Achievement Award Committee, American Society of Pharmacognosy


  • DECHEMA (Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology) working group "Low molecular weight natural products exhibiting biological activity"

  • DECHEMA working group "Plant biotechnology"

  • Member of the board of trustees of the Schering Research Foundation

  • Member of the central selection committee of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

  • Member of the Life Sciences Search Committee for the Körber European Science Award

  • Coordinator of the DFG SPP "Evolution of Metabolic Diversity"


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