John D'Auria, Affiliate
John D'Auria grew up in the Monterey Bay area of California and went to the University of California at Davis where he received his B.S. degree with honors in Biochemistry. He received his emergency teaching credentials for being a high school teacher and was involved in STEM courses both in the Salinas and North Monterey County Unified School Districts. This formative experience with classically underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines encouraged him to pursue a graduate degree. Dr. D'Auria received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in Moleculuar, Cellular, and Develpmental Biology. His focus was on plant biochemistry and the evolution of several gene families involved in secondary metabolism. He became an Alexander von Humbolt fellow and performed postdoctoral work in the Department of Biochemistry at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany. He later became a project leader at the same institute specializing in the evolution and biochemistry of tropane alkaloid biosynthesis in the coca plant, Erythroxylum coca. During this time, Dr. D'Auria supervised students from Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and a Fulbright Scholar from the USA.
In the fall of 2013, John D'Auria moved into his current position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Texas Tech University. He is a member of the Center for Chemical Biology at Texas Tech, and an assistant editor for the journal BMC Plant Biology. Dr. D'Auria is a firm supporter of increasing the representation of minorities and women in science. His research focus at Texas Tech remains centered on the biochemistry and evolution of enzymes involved in natural product biosynthesis with a strong emphasis on tropane alkaloids. He is also interested in developing a program on metabolic engineering of plants and microorganisms for the production of value added traits such as pharmaceutical and medicinal compounds.