Building a Chemical Degradation Database

posted on September 12, 2014

MSI Principal Investigator Larry Wackett (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics) and several of his colleagues in the BioTechnology Institute have recently received a MnDRIVE Transdisciplinary Research Program award. The researchers are interested in how chemicals entering the environment can be degraded quickly and safely.

Professor Wackett’s research group has recently shown that a bacterial enzyme that degrades the chemical compound naphthalene can also act on other chemicals. The MnDRIVE award will be used to start a database of bacterial enzymes that have known actions, then will computationally predict the other chemicals that enzyme will work on. An article about this award and the research it will be used to fund can be found on the College of Biological Science’s Connect blog.

Professor Wackett uses computing to answer important biological questions. His lab is involved in several projects that involve MSI’s computational resources. One of the co-investigators on the MnDRIVE project is MSI PI Professor Carrie Wilmot (Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics), who uses MSI to study the synthesis and function of novel organic, organometallic, and metal ion cofactors in proteins.