Postdoctoral, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, 2012
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2008
Our lab is focused on understanding the metabolism and physiology of bacteria, specifically how they sense their environment and obtain energy. We use the soil bacterium Cellvibrio japonicus to study how microbes in the soil detect and degrade plant cell walls. Our lab uses the interdisciplinary approaches of molecular genetics (transcriptomics), classical bacterial genetics, and biochemistry. By uncovering the mechanisms of plant cell wall degradation by bacteria we hope to (1) determine how bacteria are able to sense plant cell walls as nutrients, (2) understand how the degradation of plant material is regulated, (3) elucidate unknown gene function in the context of plant cell wall degradation, and (4) engineer useful properties into bacteria that may have industrial applications.