Dr. Anne Meyer, Department of Biology, University of Rochester
The Meyer lab performs research targeted at applying and re-engineering bacteria to synthesize bio-inspired materials with improved properties. This approach has the potential to replace traditional chemical approaches that require extreme environmental conditions, expensive equipment, and the generation of hazardous waste. We have targeted bacterial production of patterned artificial nacre, a biomineralized, optically active material lining seashells that combines high mechanical stiffness with high fracture toughness, as well as conductive graphene materials. Combination of our biological materials-producing systems with our newly developed 3D bacterial printers will allow the rapid and straight-forward production of spatially-structured biomaterials.We also study fundamental questions of chromosome organization in bacteria. In starving bacteria cells, Dps (DNA binding protein from starved cells) is the most abundant protein component of the chromosome. Dps compacts DNA into a dense structure that resembles a crystal, both in vivo and in vitro. We applied a combination of high-throughput sequencing, biochemical, and magnetic tweezer techniques to measure the effects on gene expression associated with Dps-induced compaction of DNA, and we found that Dps does not affect gene expression in starved cels either directly or indirectly in the cell. We hypothesize that Dps forms a dynamic liquid crystalline structure that excludes some DNA-binding proteins yet allows RNA polymerase free access to the buried genes, a behavior characteristic of phase-separated organelles.
Talk presented by The Institute of Optics. Refreshments will be served.
Monday, September 23 at 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Robert B. Goergen Hall for Biomedical Engineering and Optics, 101
275 Hutchison Rd, Rochester, NY 14620
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