Research in the Environmental Microbiology/Molecular Biology Laboratory focuses on the genetic and biochemical characterization of methanotrophic metabolism, with a particular focus on:

  1. Biosynthesis of novel copper-binding compounds that have significant environmental relevance as well as potential medical applications
  2. Characterization of unique “metal-switches” in methanotrophs that play critical roles in regulating methanotrophic activity
  3. Use of methanotrophs for control of greenhouse gas emissions
  4. The role of methanotrophs in mitigating mercury toxicity in situ, and
  5. The impact of methanotrophic activity on the broader microbial community, including their interactions with other microbes in situ.

Much of our research is curiosity-driven, but always with an eye as how to apply our findings to address important environmental problems, and more recently the application of a novel secondary metabolite produced by methanotrophs (methanobactin) for the treatment of copper-related human diseases, i.e. Wilson Disease.  As such, we have several US Patents on various aspects of our work, and are seeking additional patents for some of our current research.