Nicole Buan, PhD
Lab Website: http://unlcms.unl.edu/biochemistry/buanlab/welcome
The research in my lab aims to gain a foothold in understanding the physiological function of genes in anaerobic prokaryotes, using the methane-producing archaea (methanogens) as a genetically tractable model system. Prokaryotes represent approximately half of all biomass on Earth, and the majority of these organisms are strict anaerobes with poorly-characterized physiology and metabolism. These organisms represent an untapped resource for new coenzymes, cofactors, biochemistry and bio-active compounds. My lab pursues new enzymes and cofactors from anaerobes using an interdisciplinary approach. I am highly trained in bacterial and archaeal genetics, microbial metabolism and redox biochemistry. My laboratory investigates redox-active molecules or secondary metabolites that may have pharmacological or industrial utility. By understanding methanogen physiology, we expect to extrapolate our findings to other deep-branching anaerobic archaea and bacteria. A consequence of our genetic manipulation of methanogens is improved methane yield from fossil carbon sources or from renewable biomass. Methanogens are also key players in controlling the Earth's climate, and our research is expected to impact global climate models and/or strategies for abrogating global warming.