Scott Stevens, Ph.D.
Use of a large-scale fermentor for gene expression study advances research in directions previously thought unimaginable.Scott Stevens, Ph.D., assistant professor of molecular genetics and microbiology,
Its definitely the exception to the rule for university-based research facilities to conduct fermentation studies utilizing the capabilities of a 500 liter fermentor. Recently BioPharm International capitalized on an opportunity to chat with noted cell culture researcher Scott Stevens, who currently is growing a diverse group of cultures with the use of just such a fermentor at his facility at the University of Texas at Austin, with noteworthy results.
BioPharm: Describe the work youre doing in the laboratory at University of Texas at Austin and what you hope to accomplish.
Stevens: In my laboratory we study ribonucleoprotein
structure and function, specifically
the structure and function of those
ribonucleoproteins involved in gene expression.
The small nuclear ribonucleoproteins
(snRNPs), which are our primary interest, are
present in relatively low abundance (200 to
500 molecules per cell in yeast) making their
isolation and structural characterization a
particular challenge. We hope to determine
the low-resolution structural arrangement of
these snRNPs by cryoelectron microscopy
and eventually, the high-resolution structure
by X-ray crystallography. To produce milligram-
scale quantities of these complex molecules
that contain dozens of proteins and