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Josh Michener

Date & Location: January 11, 2021, at 4p; Virtual visit

Subject: Metabolic engineering of non-model bacteria for valorization of hemicellulose and lignin

Host: Emily Lanier

About the Speaker

Institution: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Research Interests: The Michener team studies the interactions between heterologous metabolic pathways and their new hosts. These pathways may have transferred between strains either in nature through horizontal gene transfer, or in the laboratory through metabolic engineering and synthetic biology. Nothing inside a cell acts as a black box, and interactions between host and pathway can determine whether a newly-acquired pathway functions in a recipient strain as efficiently as it does in its native host.

Much of the research in the lab involves genetic modification of non-model microbes. The team uses high-throughput screens and selections for untargeted discovery, combined with lower-throughput validation of particular genetic modifications. The lab is investigating the use of microfluidics and machine learning to link non-growth phenotypes to genetic variation on a genome-wide scale.

Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy/Carlos Jones