Science and Engineering

Montana State University

Brent Peyton, Brian Bothner, Eric Boyd, 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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