Plants are nature's master chemists - They produce a staggering diversity of small molecule metabolites to survive, thrive and communicate in a constantly changing environment for life spans of up to several hundred years. Terpenoids are one of the most diverse metabolite classes essential for plant development and fitness. Many terpenoids are also valued as therapeutics, food additives, fragrances, biofuels and other bio-based products of everyday modern life. Our group seeks to illuminate the genetic and biochemical features that contribute to the vast natural variation of plant specialized (also termed secondary) metabolism, and translate this knowledge into innovative biotechnology applications to meet the needs of society for a source of bioproducts. To accomplish these research goals, we study terpenoid metabolism in a range of medicinal, food and bioenergy plants. We combine metabolomics- and transcriptomics-guided gene discovery with various genetic, protein biochemical and structural-functional studies to gain insight into the often lineage-specific evolutionary diversification, molecular organization and biological relevance of terpenoid metabolism. As extraction of desired terpenoids from natural sources is often unsustainable, the portfolio of newly-discovered genes, enzymes and pathways forms the framework necessary to develop pathway engineering platforms for bioproduct manufacture.