Martinez-Gomez, N. Cecilia
Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
6198 Biomedical Physical Sciences
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: (517) 884-5406
My primary research goal is to unravel the bacterial metabolism of one-carbon compounds such as methane, methanol, formaldehyde, and formate to:
1) Biochemically characterize lanthanide-dependent enzymes: Until recently, scientists thought that this metals could not be involved in catalysis in biology, however, we know now that this is not true. We have recently discovered that lanthanides not only enhance catalytic efficiency but also its role can be essential for numerous enzymes.
2) Address fundamental questions involving carbon distribution between assimilation, energy metabolism, carbon storage, and redox homeostasis to understand both function of enzymes and redistribution of carbon flux: We are studying the effect and response of the methylotrophic metabolic network when supporting enzymes with higher catalytic efficiency.
3) Define bacteria-plant interactions: We are characterizing the mechanisms in which our methylotrophic bacteria enhances growth of diverse plants.
4) Engineer strains to enhance sustainable production/recovery of value added products, including biofuels and potent magnets: We are very interested in the production of biofuels such as butanol. We are also engineering methylotrophs for efficient biometallurgic processes for the extractions of diverse rare-earth elements.
On a broader scale, I am using system-level approaches (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and 13C carbon flux studies) along with phenotypic studies of mutants and classic genetic approaches to dissect the metabolic network supporting a growth condition. On a detailed level, I am using biochemical approaches to assay pure component systems to define the details of the mechanisms in which proteins/effectors control metabolic pathways.