Title

Advances in Lichen Research through Synthetic Manipulation of Cyanobacteria

Presenter Information

Joshua Neeter

Department

Biological Sciences

Major

Biological Sciences

Research Advisor

Westenberg, David J.
Shannon, Katie

Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Second Advisor's Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract

Lichens represent a diverse and poorly understood taxon. Though they have known metabolites whose potential has yet to be realized, discovering the exact mechanisms of chemical production is difficult due to the symbiosis of fungus and photobiont. My project proposes to take chitinase-forming genetic material from bacterial detritivores and apply it to cyanobacteria for insertion into a lichen symbiote. Given the chitinous nature of fungal cell walls, I believe that a locally created enzyme would break down the connection between the two species and allow for quick separation of fungus and bacterium in the presence of internally generated chemicals. This will allow for more focused examination of the physiology of the conjugate organism and its parts.

Biography

Joshua is currently a junior studying Biological Sciences. Currently this project is his main area of extra-curricular study, although he has had light experience with genetic research in the past. Upon graduation, Joshua plans to attend graduate school in the hopes of entering a research-based career.

Research Category

Research Proposals

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Document Type

Poster

Location

Upper Atrium/Hall

Presentation Date

16 Apr 2014, 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Apr 16th, 1:00 PM Apr 16th, 3:00 PM

Advances in Lichen Research through Synthetic Manipulation of Cyanobacteria

Upper Atrium/Hall

Lichens represent a diverse and poorly understood taxon. Though they have known metabolites whose potential has yet to be realized, discovering the exact mechanisms of chemical production is difficult due to the symbiosis of fungus and photobiont. My project proposes to take chitinase-forming genetic material from bacterial detritivores and apply it to cyanobacteria for insertion into a lichen symbiote. Given the chitinous nature of fungal cell walls, I believe that a locally created enzyme would break down the connection between the two species and allow for quick separation of fungus and bacterium in the presence of internally generated chemicals. This will allow for more focused examination of the physiology of the conjugate organism and its parts.