Genetics and Genomics of Environmental Bacteria
This research strives to integrate both classical and modern molecular approaches to understand how bacteria influence our planet. The group's model bacterial species, Shewanella, is found throughout aquatic environments from the Arctic to the Antarctic. These organisms have an incredible capacity to respire, not only oxygen, but also toxic metals such as uranium, chromium and arsenic. Many isolates of Shewanella also have the ability to grow at low temperatures. These two features likely contribute to the global distribution of Shewanella. Through identifying and characterizing molecular mechanisms, the researchers hope to:
- Discover novel mechanisms of anaerobic respiration
- Understand how anaerobic respiratory processes are regulated
- Engineer strains that can carry out respiratory functions with greater efficiency or in a controlled fashion
- Engineer new pathways into microbes that can interface with electrodes
- Quantify bacterial contributions to geochemical cycles
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