Melvin Osei Opoku

Melvin Osei Opoku


Jeffrey Rudolf


Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering


Biomedical Engineering




Student Government, African Students Union

Academic Awards

Davis Scholar



Research Interests

Neural Engineering, Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Modeling and Biomedical Data Science, Molecular and Cellular Engineering, Biomechanics and Bionics

Hobbies and Interests

Making Videos, Podcasts and Writing

Research Project

Discovery of Bacterial Terpenoid Natural Products

Natural products are chemical compounds produced by organisms. They are the backbone of traditional and herbal medicines and hence it is no surprise that they contribute to about 50% of commercial drug products. For example, aspirin is a derivative of the compound from willow bark. Terpenoids are the largest and most structurally diverse family of natural products. Surprisingly, the fascinating mechanisms of how terpene synthases (TSs) make terpenes are not fully understood. Most predicted TSs in bacteria have not been experimentally characterized. The purpose of this project is to functionally characterize predicted TSs and the terpene products they make. This experiment is important because sequence analysis of each TS cannot predict which product(s) will be formed and even a single point mutation can disrupt product formation and/or distribution. Thus, the characterization of bacterial TSs will advance the fields of natural products, terpene enzymology, and terpene utilization.