Metagenomics

NSF funds two new projects to understand greenhouse gas emissions from soil, expand microbial big-data analysis tools

Microbes in soil can break down nitrous oxide, N2O, into harmless nitrogen, N2, but they don't always do a good job, according to Professor Kostas Konstantinidis. He has a new grant from the National Science Foundation to understand why. The problem is that the nitrous oxide is a powerful and damaging greenhouse gas. The study will focus on agricultural land, where nitrogen is often added to soil as fertilizer, and tropical forests. (Image Courtesy: Kostas Konstantinidis)

Kostas Konstantinidis has received two new grants from the National Science Foundation that promise to help researchers better understand some of the tiniest organisms on the planet.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Tsementzi wins Sigma Xi Best PhD Dissertation award for her widely published work in environmental microbiology

Despina Tsementzi has won the Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Dissertation award for 2017. (Courtesy: Despina Tsementzi)

Georgia Tech’s scientific and engineering honor society has recognized Despina Tsementzi’s doctoral dissertation as one of the best of the year. Tsementzi, who finished her Ph.D. in the fall, has won the Sigma Xi Best Ph.D. Dissertation award for 2017. She’s one of only 10 students across campus to earn the distinction.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Study sheds light on key role for ‘rare’ aquatic microbes in dealing with pollution, balancing ecosystems

School of Civil and Environmental Engineering researchers have found that bacteria present in only small numbers in freshwater systems contain key genes that help the broader microbial community respond to environmental changes such as pollution or oil spills. The team used water from Lake Lanier northeast of Atlanta to test how microbial communities respond to common organic compounds. (Photo Courtesy: PBT1981 via Wikimedia Commons)

Even bacteria found in small numbers in freshwater communities play an essential role in maintaining the ecosystem and responding to environmental changes, according to new work from researchers in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. This “rare biosphere,” as they called it, carries important genes for breaking down organic pollutants, which can help the entire microbial community withstand environmental changes. Their study appeared March 3 in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Genomics technique could revolutionize how we detect bacteria in food poisoning outbreaks

Microbiologists use next-generation sequencing technology to identify a bacterial DNA fingerprint. (Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

A new testing methodology based on metagenomics could accelerate the diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks, allowing public health officials to identify the microbial culprits in less than a day. The methodology could also identify co-infections with secondary microbes, determine the specific variant of the pathogen, and help alert health officials to the presence of new or unusual pathogens.

Thursday, December 1, 2016
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