Contact Info


  • B.S., Pennsylvania State University, 2003
  • Ph.D., Iowa State University, 2008


  • Awakawa, T.; Mori, T.; Nakashima, Y.; Zhai, R.; Wong, C.P.; Hillwig, M.L.; Liu, X.; Abe, I. Molecular Insight into the Mg2+ -Dependent Allosteric Control of Indole Prenylation by Aromatic Prenyltransferase AmbP1. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2018, 57 (23), 6810-6813.
  • Xu, M.; Hillwig, M.L.; Tiernan, M.S.; Peters, R.J. “Probing labdane-related diterpenoid biosynthesis in the fungal genus Aspergillus.” Journal of Natural Products 2017, 80 (2), 328-33.
  • Mitchell, A. J.; Zhu, Q.; Maggiolo, A. O.; Ananth, N. R.; Hillwig, M. L.; Liu, X.; Boal, A. K. “Structural basis for halogenation by iron- and 2-oxo-glutarate-dependent enzyme WelO5.” Nature Chemical Biology 2016, 12 (8), 636-40.
  • Hillwig, M. L.; Zhu, Q.; Ittiamornkul, K.; Liu, X. “Discovery of a Promiscuous Non-Heme Iron Halogenase in Ambiguine Alkaloid Biogenesis: Implication for an Evolvable Enzyme Family for Late-Stage Halogenation of Aliphatic Carbons in Small Molecules.” Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2016, 55 (19), 5780-4.
  • Mafu, S.; Jia, M.; Zi, J.; Morrone, D.; Wu, Y.; Xu, M.; Hillwig, M. L.; Peters, R. J. “Probing the promiscuity of ent-kaurene oxidases via combinatorial biosynthesis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 2016, 113 (9), 2526-2531.
  • Zhu, Q.; Hillwig, M. L.; Doi, Y.; Liu, X. “Aliphatic Halogenase Enables Late-Stage C-H Functionalization: Selective Synthesis of a Brominated Fischerindole Alkaloid with Enhanced Antibacterial Activity.” Chembiochem 2016, 17 (6), 466-70.
  • Liu, X.; Hillwig, M. L.; Koharudin, L. M. I.; Gronenborn, A. M. “Unified biogenesis of ambiguine, fischerindole, hapalindole and welwitindolinone: identification of a monogeranylated indolenine as a cryptic common biosynthetic intermediate by an unusual magnesium-dependent aromatic prenyltransferase.” Chemical Communications 2016, 52 (8), 1737-1740.
  • Ittiamornkul, K.; Zhu, Q.; Gkotsi, D. S.; Smith, D. R. M.; Hillwig, M. L.; Nightingale, N.; Goss, R. J. M.; Liu, X. “Promiscuous indolyl vinyl isonitrile synthases in the biogenesis and diversification of hapalindole-type alkaloids.” Chemical Science 2015, 6 (12), 6836-6840.
  • Medema, M.H.; Kottmann, R; Yilmaz, P.; Cummings, M.; Biggins, J.B.; Blin, K.; de Bruijn I.; Chooi, Y.H.; Claesen, J.; Coates, R.C.; Cruz-Morales, P.; Duddela, S.; Düsterhus, S.; Edwards, D.J.; Fewer, D.P.; Garg, N.; Geiger, C.; Gomez-Escribano J.P.; Greule, A.; Hadjithomas, M.; Haines, A.S.; Helfrich, E.J.; Hillwig, M.L.; Ishida, K.; Jones, A.C.; et al. “Minimum Information about a Biosynthetic Gene cluster.” Nature Chemical Biology 2015, 11 (9), 625-31.
  • Mafu, S.; Potter, K.C.; Hillwig, M.L., Schulte S, Criswell J, Peters RJ. “Efficient heterocyclisation by (di)terpene synthases.” Chemical Communications 2015, 51 (70):13485-7.
  • Hillwig, M.L. & Liu, X. “A new family of iron-dependent halogenases acts on freestanding substrates.” Nature Chemical Biology 2014, 10 (11), 921-3.
  • Xu, M.; Hillwig, M.L.; Lane, A.L.; Tiernan, M.S.; Moore, B.S.; Peters, R.J. “Characterization of an orphan diterpenoid biosynthetic operon from Salinispora arenicola.” Journal of Natural Products 2014 77 (9), 2144-7.
  • Hillwig, M.L.; Fuhrman, H.A.; Ittiamornkul K.; et al. “Identification and Characterization of a Welwitindolinone Alkaloid Biosynthetic Gene Cluster in Stigonematalean Cyanobacterium Hapalosiphon welwitschii.” Chembiochem 2014, 15 (5), 665-9.
  • Gao, W.; Sun, H.-X.; Xiao, H.; Cui, G.; Hillwig, M. L.; et al. “Combining metabolomics and transcriptomics to characterize tanshinone biosynthesis in Salvia miltiorrhiza.” BMC Genomics 2014, 28, 15:73.
  • Hillwig, M.L.; Zhu, Q; Liu, X. “Biosynthesis of Ambiguine Indole Alkaloids in Cyanobacterium Fischerella ambigua.” ACS Chemical Biology 2014, 9 (2), 372-7.
  • 16. Guo, J.; Zhou, Y.J., Hillwig, M.L.; et al. “CYP76AH1 catalyzes turnover of miltiradiene in tanshinones biosynthesis and enables heterologous production of ferruginol in yeasts.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U.S.A. 2013, 110 (29), 12108-13.
  • Wu, Y.; Wang, Q.; Hillwig, M. L.; Peters, R. J. Picking sides: Distinct roles for CYP76M6 and -8 in rice oryzalexin biosynthesis. Biochemical Journal 2013, 454 (2), 209-16.
  • Wang, Q.; Hillwig, M.L.; Wu, Y.; et al. CYP701A8: a rice ent-kaurene oxidase paralog diverted to more specialized diterpenoid metabolism. Plant Physiology 2012, 158 (3), 1418-25.
  • Wang, Q.; Hillwig, M.L.; Okada, K.; et al. “Characterization of CYP76M5-8 indicates metabolic plasticity within a plant biosynthetic gene cluster.” Journal of Biological Chemistry 2012, 287 (9), 6159-68.
  • Hillwig, M.L.; Xu, M.; Toyomasu, T.; et al. “Domain loss has independently occurred multiple times in plant terpene synthase evolution.” The Plant Journal. 2011, 68 (6), 1051-60.
  • Mafu, S.; Hillwig, M. L.; Peters, R. J. “A Novel Labda-7,13E-dien-15-ol-producing bifunctional diterpene synthase from Selaginella moellendorffii.” ChemBioChem 2011, 12(13):1984-7.
  • Wu, Y.; Hillwig, M.L.; Wang, Q.; Peters, R.J. "Parsing a multifunctional biosynthetic gene cluster from rice: Biochemical characterization of CYP71Z6 & 7.” FEBS Letters 2011, 585 (21), 3446-51.
  • Morrone, D.; Hillwig, M.L.; Mead, M.E.; Lowry, L.; Fulton, B.F.; Peters, R.J. “Evident and latent plasticity across the rice diterpene synthase family with potential implications for the evolution of diterpenoid metabolism in the cereals.” Biochemical Journal 2011, 435 (3), 589-95.
  • Hillwig, M.L.; Mann F.M.; Peters, R.J. “Diterpenoid biopolymers: new directions for renewable materials engineering.” 2011, 95 (2), 71-6.
  • Wang, Q., Hillwig, M.L.; Peters, R.J. "CYP99A3: Functional identification of a diterpene oxidase from the momilactone biosynthetic gene cluster in rice." The Plant Journal 2011, 65(1), 87-95.
  • Maugel N.; Mann F.M.; Hillwig M.L.; Peters R.J.; Snider, B.B. “Synthesis of (±)-Nosyberkol (Isotuberculosinol, Revised Structure of Edaxadiene).” Organic Letters 2009, 2010, 12 (11), 2626-9.
  • Gao, W., Hillwig M.L., Huang L., Cui G., Wang X., Kong J., Yang B., Peters R.J. "A functional genomics approach to tanshinone biosynthesis provides stereochemical insights." Organic Letters 2009, 11 (22), 5170-3.
  • Birt D.F., Widrlechner M.P., Hammer K.D., Hillwig M.L., Wei J., Kraus G.A., Murphy P.A., et al. “Hypericum in infection: Identification of anti-viral and anti-inflammatory constituents.” Pharmaceutical Biology 2009, 47 (8), 774-782.
  • Hillwig, M.L.; Hammer, K.D.P.; Birt, D.F.; Wurtele, E.S. “Characterizing the Novel Metabolic Fingerprint and Anti-inflammatory Activity of Hypericum gentianoides.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2008, 56 (12), 4359-66.
  • Hammer, K.D.P.; Hillwig, M.L.; Wurtele, E.S.; Birt, D.F. Pseudohypericin is necessary for the light-activated inhibition of prostaglandin E2 pathways by a 4-component system mimicking an Hypericum perforatum fraction. Phytochemistry 2008, 69, 2354-2362.
  • Hammer, K.D.P.; Hillwig, M.L.; Wurtele, E.S.; Birt, D.F. “Inhibition of prostaglandin E2 production by anti-inflammatory Hypericum perforatum extracts and constituents in RAW264.7 mouse macrophage cells.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2007, 55 (18), 7323-31.
  • Xu, M.; Hillwig, M.L.; Prisic, S.; Coates, R.M.; Peters, R.J. “Functional identi?cation of rice syn-copalyl diphosphate synthase and its role in initiating biosynthesis of diterpenoid phytoalexin/allelopathic natural products.” The Plant Journal 2004, 39 (3), 309-18.


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Trainee Fellowship (F22) from 2004 to 2008.