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NIH grants enable energy studies
Date:11/19/2007

icrobial agents against certain infectious diseases. Once the screens are developed, the Kranz group will collaborate with Lucile White, Ph.D. and Krister Wennerberg, Ph.D. at the Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala., which is a center for NIH's Roadmap for Medical Research Initiative on high throughput screening. Importantly, the grant award provides access to the NIH Molecular Libraries Screening Center Network (MLSCN), and to experts like White and Wennerberg. The NIH "library" of chemicals is composed of 100,000 different small molecules.

Kranz has taught undergraduates every year at Washington University. He taught microbiology to juniors and seniors for 14 years, and freshman biology for four years. Kranz is currently teaching a four- credit, laboratory course in DNA manipulations (Bio 437), which meets for eight hours on Friday and Saturday and one hour on Wednesdays.

Two of the projects for the class, comprised of juniors and seniors, are related to bioenergy conversion, whereby the students are cloning and knocking out genes for many cytochromes. These cytochromes are potentially involved in bioelectricity generation. This work also is linked to the biogenesis pathways, and began as collaboration between the Kranz group and Lars Angenent, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemical engineering. Miriam Rosenbaum , Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the Angenent lab and Rachel Lee, a biomedical engineering undergraduate, and Elaine Frawley, a graduate student, both from the Kranz group are piloting these studies in their spare time. The long term goal is to engineer "electrical nanowires" into E.coli to make an efficient E.coli biofuel cell.

"We are the experts in genetic engineering of such nanowire proteins and they are the microbial fuel cell experts, a perfect fit that has been a fun collaboration, "said Kranz. "Once we have the preliminary data, our plan is to write up a joint grant on extending these effo
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Contact: Tony Fitzpatrick
tony_fitzpatrick@wustl.edu
314-935-5272
Washington University in St. Louis
Source:Eurekalert

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