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Growing fuel and medicine: Advancing biofuels and plant-produced therapeutics
Date:10/27/2008

, currently professor of integrative genomics at Princeton University. Prof. Botstein was referring to the elegant genetics possible in Bakers (or brewers) yeast in the 1980s, which made it an object of envy of scientists not working with yeast. Saccharomyces cerevisiae continues to push the limits of genomics and molecular genetic research because it is a simple, safe, fast, and facile eukaryotic organism. My laboratory uses S. cerevisiae to understand the fundamental mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis. For example: how fungi perceive secondary metabolites as cues and integrate these in a way that is beneficial to them. A clear understanding of this signaling pathway might allow us to disrupt microbial communication thereby interrupting the infection process. In addition we use genomic approaches to identify novel virulence factor as targets for antifungal drug development. Potential drug targets are subjected to high throughput screens to identify small molecules that inhibit their function. We also use the powerful genetic and genomic tools available in S. cerevisiae to understand the mode of action of ill-understood drugs at the molecular level. Such information can be used to increase efficacy or decrease side effects of drugs. Finally we are genetically modifying yeast to increase ethanol production from cellulosic feedstock.


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Contact: Michael Cohen
mcohen@wpi.edu
508-868-4778
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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