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The van der Donk group focuses on the mode of action and mechanism of biosynthesis of two classes of antibiotics that have been underexplored but have great potential for human therapeutic use, lantibiotics and phosphonate antibiotics. Lantibiotics are a widely occurring class of ribosomally synthesized peptide antibiotics. These peptides are modified to their bioactive forms via post-translational modifications that introduce intramolecular crosslinks. Dr. van der Donk uses bioinformatics to guide genome mining for new lantibiotics as well as bioengineering approaches to modify know lantibiotics. These analogs are subsequently used for mode of action studies. In the course of his studies on lantibiotics, he also uncovered the first example of naturally occurring S-linked glycopeptides.