College of Biological Sciences
Billions of years ago, bacteria invented metabolic strategies to capture the energy released during oxidation and reduction of organic and inorganic compounds. This activity has a profound effect on the chemistry of the planet.
The Bond group studies bacteria that transfer electrons beyond their cell membranes, a process that enables them to gain energy from rocks, rusts, and even other organisms. This movement of electrons can alter the toxicity and solubility of metals, or provide a route for bioremediation of contaminants in the subsurface. Importantly, this represents a direct electrical connection between the interior of a cell and the biosphere. It links the enzymatic precision of life to the electrical and digital worlds.
The lab aims to invent new tools able to explore this interface between microbiology and electricity. They study the molecular and genetic basis for this metabolism, and develop strategies that harness these organisms for the synthesis of bioproducts, generation of energy, and design of new bioelectrical sensors. They use MSI resource in four broad areas:
- Tn-Seq in the model metal reducer Geobacter sulfurreducens and its relatives
- Shotgun genomics and metagenomics of isolates and mixed communities from the Sudan Iron Mine
- Sequencing and resequencing of novel isolates
- RNA-seq of organisms under different growth conditions