Ph.D., University of Rhode Island
Phone: (818) 677-4592
Fax: (818) 677-2034
Office: Citrus Hall 3220A
Lab: Citrus Hall 3220
Council on Undergraduate Research: Biology mentor award
We are interested in production of value-added compounds (including biofuel and biodiesel) in plants and algae. Our goal is to produce genetically engineered plant cells and use these cells as factories for production of biofuel and biodiesel. Some of the specific projects are described below. If you are interested in working in my lab please contact me.
Understanding molecular biology of ‘diesel-like’ fuel production in ‘diesel tree’
Copaifera officinalis or copaiba is a tropical tree known for production of terpene hydrocarbons. Nobel laureate Calvin named this tree the ‘diesel tree’ for its production of diesel-like hydrocarbons. We are interested in understanding the cellular physiology of this tree. An expressed sequence tag (EST) library was analyzed by our lab from copaiba saplings. Transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana plants were produced with several of the diesel tree genes from the diesel tree cDNA library. We would like to over-express the diesel tree genes in algae and plants and evaluate the potentials of the transgenic plants to be used as sources of alternative fuels. We plan to sequence the genome of this plant using next generation sequencing technology. All ESTs were submitted to GenBank. This project was featured as cover story in the journal Plant Biotechnology.
Atmospheric cleansing by plants
Work from this project was published in the Science Magazine. This work is a collaboration with National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO. Using real-time PCR we have identified various genes, which are differentially expressed in poplar trees during environmental stresses. We have shown that when plants are environmentally stressed they adjust their metabolism and remove atmospheric pollutants at a faster rate.
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