Our laboratory is focused on two primary research areas. The first focus involves the study of biosynthetic pathways for commodity fuels and high-value products from select bacteria and algae. Our second focus is on bacteria and cyanobacteria capable of biological nitrogen fixation and the role these species play in the biological nitrogen cycle. In relation to this, we are particularly interested in organisms that develop mutual or symbiotic relationships to exchange specific compounds. Members of our laboratory must have a strong biology and biochemistry background with an interest in applied and basic science. In recent years, we have been constructing various tools for genetic approaches in model bacteria and cyanobacteria systems, and are interested in biosynthetic approaches to produce compounds that could replace current fuels or have value as specialty chemicals.
Specific Research Projects
- Wax ester production in specific model bacteria (Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8)
- Triacylglyceride (TAG) production from algae and diatoms
- Utilization of symbiotic relationships between bacteria and algae
- The nitrogen cycle in relation to bioproduct yields
- Evolutionary techniques related to novel protein design (directed evolution)