Science and Engineering

Montana State University

Brent Peyton, Brian Bothner, Ross Carlson, Valérie Copié, Matthew Fields, Robin Gerlach, Bill Inskeep, Heather Rauser, Susie Couch, Jamie Cornish, Christine Smith
Bozeman, MT
$1,000,000
December 2015

A team of investigators from Montana State University will integrate fundamental and applied research to characterize and grow novel hyperthermophilic alkaliphilic Archaea – hardy microorganisms living at extremely high temperature and in strongly alkaline environments.  Specific hot springs in Yellowstone National Park’s remote Heart Lake Geyser Basin contain a large majority of these microorganisms that have never before been grown in a laboratory.  The team will bring to bear Montana State’s Thermal Biology Institute’s history of high quality, interdisciplinary research in thermal environments and state-of-the-art techniques to tackle the following Aims: 1) DNA sequencing and single cell genomics for discovery of novel protein encoding genes within microbial communities; 2) protein analysis and small molecule metabolite analysis for important insights into proteins and compounds that allow these thermoalkaliphilic organisms to grow and survive under such extreme conditions; 3) novel culturing techniques using unique electron donor/acceptor combinations and distinctive cathode/anode based culturing strategies; and, 4) screening and characterization of pathways, enzymes, and metabolites of value in renewable fuels and chemicals, medical applications, and novel thermostable compounds.

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