Skip to main content

ASU Electronic Theses and Dissertations


This collection includes most of the ASU Theses and Dissertations from 2011 to present. ASU Theses and Dissertations are available in downloadable PDF format; however, a small percentage of items are under embargo. Information about the dissertations/theses includes degree information, committee members, an abstract, supporting data or media.

In addition to the electronic theses found in the ASU Digital Repository, ASU Theses and Dissertations can be found in the ASU Library Catalog.

Dissertations and Theses granted by Arizona State University are archived and made available through a joint effort of the ASU Graduate College and the ASU Libraries. For more information or questions about this collection contact or visit the Digital Repository ETD Library Guide or contact the ASU Graduate College at gradformat@asu.edu.


Resource Type
Subject
Date Range
2010 2019


Marine pico-cyanobacteria of the genera Synechococcus and Prochlorococcus carry out nearly two thirds of the primary production in oligotrophic oceans. These cyanobacteria are also considered an important constituent of the biological carbon pump, the photosynthetic fixation of CO2 to dissolved and particulate organic carbon and subsequent export to the ocean’s interior. But single cells of these cyanobacteria are too small to sink, so their carbon export has to be mediated by aggregate formation and/or consumption by zooplankton that produce sinking fecal pellets. In this dissertation, I investigated for the first time the aggregation of these cyanobacteria by studying the marine …

Contributors
Deng, Wei, Neuer, Susanne, Anbar, Ariel, et al.
Created Date
2016

This dissertation studies the larger issue of antibiotic resistance with respect to how antibiotics are being introduced into the environment, focusing on two major anthropogenic pathways: animal husbandry for human consumption, and the recycling of wastewater and municipal sludge generated during conventional biological sewage treatment. For animal production on land (agriculture) antibiotics are often used for growth enhancement and increased feed efficiency. For animal production in water (aquaculture) antibiotics are often used as a prophylactic. I found that the same antibiotics are being used in both industries and that the same strains of human pathogens have also been isolated from …

Contributors
Done, Hansa Yi-Yun, Halden, Rolf U, Haydel, Shelley E, et al.
Created Date
2015

The basic scheme for photosynthesis suggests the two photosystems existing in parity with one another. However, cyanobacteria typically maintain significantly more photosystem I (PSI) than photosystem II (PSII) complexes. I set out to evaluate this disparity through development and analysis of multiple mutants of the genetically tractable cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 that exhibit a range of expression levels of the main proteins present in PSI (Chapter 2). One hypothesis was that the higher abundance of PSI in this organism is used to enable more cyclic electron flow (CEF) around PSI to contribute to greater ATP synthesis. Results of this …

Contributors
Moore, Vicki, Vermaas, Willem, Wang, Xuan, et al.
Created Date
2017

Over the past decade, there has been a revival in applied algal research and attempts at commercialization. However, the main limitation in algal commercialization is the process of cultivation, which is one of the main cost and energy burdens in producing biomass that is economically feasible for different products. There are several parameters that must be considered when growing algae, including the type of growth system and operating mode, preferred organism(s), and many other criteria that affect the process of algal cultivation. The purpose of this dissertation was to assess key variables that affect algal productivity and to improve outdoor …

Contributors
Eustance, Everett, Sommerfeld, Milton R, Fox, Peter, et al.
Created Date
2015

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) offer an alternative to methane production in anaerobic water treatment and the recapture of energy in waste waters. MXCs use anode respiring bacteria (ARB) to oxidize organic compounds and generate electrical current. In both anaerobic digestion and MXCs, an anaerobic food web connects the metabolisms of different microorganisms, using hydrolysis, fermentation and either methanogenesis or anode respiration to break down organic compounds, convert them to acetate and hydrogen, and then convert those intermediates into either methane or current. In this dissertation, understanding and managing the interactions among fermenters, methanogens, and ARB were critical to making developments …

Contributors
Miceli, Joseph Francis, Torres, César I, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Creating sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel resources is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind. Solar energy provides an excellent option to alleviate modern dependence on fossil fuels. However, efficient methods to harness solar energy are still largely lacking. Biomass from photosynthetic organisms can be used as feedstock to produce traditional fuels, but must be produced in great quantities in order to meet the demands of growing populations. Cyanobacteria are prokaryotic photosynthetic microorganisms that can produce biomass on large scales using only sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and small amounts of nutrients. Thus, Cyanobacteria are a viable option for sustainable production …

Contributors
Zevin, Alexander Simon, Rittmann, Bruce E, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2015

Invasive salmonellosis caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium ST313 is a major health crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, with multidrug resistance and atypical clinical presentation challenging current treatment regimens and resulting in high mortality. Moreover, the increased risk of spreading ST313 pathovars worldwide is of major concern, given global public transportation networks and increased populations of immunocompromised individuals (as a result of HIV infection, drug use, cancer therapy, aging, etc). While it is unclear as to how Salmonella ST313 strains cause invasive disease in humans, it is intriguing that the genomic profile of some of these pathovars indicates key differences between …

Contributors
Yang, Jiseon, Nickerson, Cheryl A., Chang, Yung, et al.
Created Date
2015

The finite supply of current energy production materials has created opportunities for the investigation of alternative energy sources in many fields. One example is the use of microorganisms in bioenergy applications, such as microbial fuel cells. Present in many types of environments, microorganisms with the ability to respire solid electron acceptors have become of increasing relevance to alternative energy and wastewater treatment research. In this dissertation, several aspects of anode respiration are investigated, with the goal of increasing the limited understanding of the mechanisms of electron transport through the use of advanced electrochemical methods. Biofilms of Geobacter sulfurreducens, the model …

Contributors
Yoho, Rachel, Torres, César I, Rittmann, Bruce E, et al.
Created Date
2016

Radioactive cesium (137Cs), released from nuclear power plants and nuclear accidental releases, is a problem due to difficulties regarding its removal. Efforts have been focused on removing cesium and the remediation of the contaminated environment. Traditional treatment techniques include Prussian blue and nano zero-valent ion (nZVI) and nano-Fe/Cu particles to remove Cs from water; however, they are not efficient at removing Cs when present at low concentrations of about 10 parts-per-billion (ppb), typical of concentrations found in the radioactive contaminated sites. The objective of this study was to develop an innovative and simple method to remove Cs+ present at low …

Contributors
Hakim Elahi, Sepideh, Conroy-Ben, Otakuye, Abbaszadegan, Morteza, et al.
Created Date
2018

Lignocellulosic biomass represents a renewable domestic feedstock that can support large-scale biochemical production processes for fuels and specialty chemicals. However, cost-effective conversion of lignocellulosic sugars into valuable chemicals by microorganisms still remains a challenge. Biomass recalcitrance to saccharification, microbial substrate utilization, bioproduct titer toxicity, and toxic chemicals associated with chemical pretreatments are at the center of the bottlenecks limiting further commercialization of lignocellulose conversion. Genetic and metabolic engineering has allowed researchers to manipulate microorganisms to overcome some of these challenges, but new innovative approaches are needed to make the process more commercially viable. Transport proteins represent an underexplored target in …

Contributors
Kurgan, Gavin, Wang, Xuan, Nielsen, David, et al.
Created Date
2018

The production of monomer compounds for synthesizing plastics has to date been largely restricted to the petroleum-based chemical industry and sugar-based microbial fermentation, limiting its sustainability and economic feasibility. Cyanobacteria have, however, become attractive microbial factories to produce renewable fuels and chemicals directly from sunlight and CO2. To explore the feasibility of photosynthetic production of (S)- and (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate (3HB), building-block monomers for synthesizing the biodegradable plastics polyhydroxyalkanoates and precursors to fine chemicals, synthetic metabolic pathways have been constructed, characterized and optimized in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 (hereafter Synechocystis 6803). Both types of 3HB molecules were produced and readily …

Contributors
Wang, Bo, Meldrum, Deirdre R, Zhang, Weiwen, et al.
Created Date
2014

The engineering of microbial cell factories capable of synthesizing industrially relevant chemical building blocks is an attractive alternative to conventional petrochemical-based production methods. This work focuses on the novel and enhanced biosynthesis of phenol, catechol, and muconic acid (MA). Although the complete biosynthesis from glucose has been previously demonstrated for all three compounds, established production routes suffer from notable inherent limitations. Here, multiple pathways to the same three products were engineered, each incorporating unique enzyme chemistries and/or stemming from different endogenous precursors. In the case of phenol, two novel pathways were constructed and comparatively evaluated, with titers reaching as high …

Contributors
Thompson, Brian, Nielsen, David R, Nannenga, Brent, et al.
Created Date
2017

CTB-MPR649-684 is a translational fusion protein consisting of the cholera toxin B subunit (CTB) and the conserved residues 649-684 of gp41 membrane proximal region (MPR). It is a candidate vaccine component aimed at early steps of the HIV-1 infection by blocking viral mucosal transmission. Bacterially produced CTB-MPR was previously shown to induce HIV-1 transcytosis-blocking antibodies in mice and rabbits. However, the induction of high-titer MPR specific antibodies with HIV-1 transcytosis blocking ability remains a challenge as the immuno-dominance of CTB overshadows the response to MPR. X-ray crystallography was used to investigate the structure of CTB-MPR with the goal of identifying …

Contributors
Lee, Ho-Hsien, Fromme, Petra, Mor, Tsafrir, et al.
Created Date
2015

ABSTRACT Sustainable global energy production is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Next-generation renewable energy sources include using photosynthetic microbes such as cyanobacteria for efficient production of sustainable fuels from sunlight. The cyanobacterium Synechocystis PCC 6803 (Synechocystis) is a genetically tractable model organism for plant-like photosynthesis that is used to develop microbial biofuel technologies. However, outside of photosynthetic processes, relatively little is known about the biology of microbial phototrophs such as Synechocystis, which impairs their development into market-ready technologies. My research objective was to characterize strategic aspects of Synechocystis biology related to its use in biofuel production; …

Contributors
Allen, Rebecca Custer, Curtiss III, Roy, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, et al.
Created Date
2016

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, is the 10th leading cause of death, worldwide. The prevalence of drug-resistant clinical isolates and the paucity of newly-approved antituberculosis drugs impedes the successful eradication of Mtb. Bacteria commonly use two-component systems (TCS) to sense their environment and genetically modulate adaptive responses. The prrAB TCS is essential in Mtb, thus representing an auspicious drug target; however, the inability to generate an Mtb ΔprrAB mutant complicates investigating how this TCS contributes to pathogenesis. Mycobacterium smegmatis, a commonly used M. tuberculosis genetic surrogate was used here. This work shows that prrAB is not essential …

Contributors
Maarsingh, Jason, Haydel, Shelley E, Roland, Kenneth, et al.
Created Date
2019

Intrinsic antibiotic resistance is of growing concern in modern medical treatment. The primary action of multidrug resistant strains is through over-expression of active transporters which recognize a broad range of antibiotics. In Escherichia coli, the TolC-AcrAB complex has become a model system to understand antibiotic efflux. While the structures of these three proteins (and many of their homologs) are known, the exact mechanisms of interaction are still poorly understood. By mutational analysis of the TolC turn 1 residues, a drug hypersensitive mutant has been identified which is defective in functional interactions with AcrA and AcrB. Antibiotic resistant revertants carry alterations …

Contributors
Weeks, Jon W., Misra, Rajeev, Stout, Valerie, et al.
Created Date
2012

Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 is a readily transformable cyanobacteria used to study cyanobacterial genetics, as well as production of biofuels, polyesters, and other industrial chemicals. Free fatty acids are precursors to biofuels which are used by Synechocystis cells as a means of energy storage. By genetically modifying the cyanobacteria to expel these chemicals, costs associated with retrieving the products will be reduced; concurrently, the bacteria will be able to produce the products at a higher concentration. This is achieved by adding genes encoding components of the Escherichia coli AcrAB-TolC efflux system, part of the resistance-nodulation-division (RND) transporter family, to Synechocystis …

Contributors
Bellefleur, Matthew Paul Allen, Curtiss, III, Roy, Nielsen, David R, et al.
Created Date
2018

Some cyanobacteria, referred to as boring or euendolithic, are capable of excavating tunnels into calcareous substrates, both mineral and biogenic. The erosive activity of these cyanobacteria results in the destruction of coastal limestones and dead corals, the reworking of carbonate sands, and the cementation of microbialites. They thus link the biological and mineral parts of the global carbon cycle directly. They are also relevant for marine aquaculture as pests of mollusk populations. In spite of their importance, the mechanism by which these cyanobacteria bore remains unknown. In fact, boring by phototrophs is geochemically paradoxical, in that they should promote precipitation …

Contributors
Ramírez-Reinat, Edgardo Luis, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2010

The study of bacterial resistance to antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) is a significant area of interest as these peptides have the potential to be developed into alternative drug therapies to combat microbial pathogens. AMPs represent a class of host-mediated factors that function to prevent microbial infection of their host and serve as a first line of defense. To date, over 1,000 AMPs of various natures have been predicted or experimentally characterized. Their potent bactericidal activities and broad-based target repertoire make them a promising next-generation pharmaceutical therapy to combat bacterial pathogens. It is important to understand the molecular mechanisms, both genetic and …

Contributors
Griffin, Natasha Monette, Shi, Yixin, Clark-Curtiss, Josephine, et al.
Created Date
2013

Nanotechnology is a scientific field that has recently expanded due to its applications in pharmaceutical and personal care products, industry and agriculture. As result of this unprecedented growth, nanoparticles (NPs) have become a significant environmental contaminant, with potential to impact various forms of life in environment. Metal nanoparticles (mNPs) exhibit unique properties such as increased chemical reactivity due to high specific surface area to volume ratios. Bacteria play a major role in many natural and engineered biogeochemical reactions in wastewater treatment plants and other environmental compartments. I have evaluated the laboratory isolates of E. coli, Bacillus, Alcaligenes, Pseudomonas; wastewater isolates …

Contributors
Alboloushi, Ali, Abbaszadegan, Morteza, Alum, Absar, et al.
Created Date
2012

Synechocystis sp PCC 6803 is a photosynthetic cyanobacterium that can be easily transformed to produce molecules of interest; this has increased Synechocystis’ popularity as a clean energy platform. Synechocystis has been shown to produce and excrete molecules such as fatty acids, isoprene, etc. after appropriate genetic modification. Challenges faced for large–scale growth of modified Synechocystis include abiotic stress, microbial contamination and high processing costs of product and cell material. Research reported in this dissertation contributes to solutions to these challenges. First, abiotic stress was addressed by overexpression of the heat shock protein ClpB1. In contrast to the wild type, the …

Contributors
Gonzalez Esquer, Cesar Raul, Vermaas, Willem, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2013

Some cyanobacteria can generate hydrogen (H2) under certain physiological conditions and are considered potential agents for biohydrogen production. However, they also present low amounts of H2 production, a reaction reversal towards H2 consumption, and O2 sensitivity. Most attempts to improve H2 production have involved genetic or metabolic engineering approaches. I used a bio-prospecting approach instead to find novel strains that are naturally more apt for biohydrogen production. A set of 36, phylogenetically diverse strains isolated from terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments were probed for their potential to produce H2 from excess reductant. Two distinct patterns in H2 production were detected. …

Contributors
Kothari, Ankita, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Vermaas, Willem F J, et al.
Created Date
2013

The prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens has increased since the introduction of penicillin in the 1940s. Insufficient development of novel antibacterial agents is leaving us with a failing arsenal of therapies to combat these pathogenic organisms. We have identified a clay mineral mixture (designated CB) that exhibits in vitro antibacterial activity against a broad spectrum of bacterial pathogens, yet the antibacterial mechanism of action remains unknown. Antibacterial susceptibility testing of four different clay samples collected from the same source revealed that these natural clays had markedly different antibacterial activity. X-ray diffraction analyses of these minerals revealed minor mineralogical differences …

Contributors
Otto, Caitin Carol, Haydel, Shelley, Stout, Valerie, et al.
Created Date
2014

Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever) is caused by inhalation of arthrospores from soil-dwelling fungi, Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii. This dimorphic fungus and disease are endemic to the southwestern United States, central valley in California and Mexico. The Genome of Coccidioidies has been sequenced but proteomic studies are absent. To address this gap in knowledge, we generated proteome of Spherulin (lysate of Spherule phase) using LC-MS/MS and identified over 1300 proteins. We also investigated lectin reactivity to spherules in human lung tissue based on the hypothesis that coccidioidal glycosylation is different from mammalian glycosylation, and therefore certain lectins would have differential binding …

Contributors
Kaushal, Setu, Lake, Douglas, Magee, Dewey Mitchell, et al.
Created Date
2015

This thesis research focuses on phylogenetic and functional studies of microbial communities in deep-sea water, an untapped reservoir of high metabolic and genetic diversity of microorganisms. The presence of photosynthetic cyanobacteria and diatoms is an interesting and unexpected discovery during a 16S ribosomal rRNA-based community structure analyses for microbial communities in the deep-sea water of the Pacific Ocean. Both RT-PCR and qRT-PCR approaches were employed to detect expression of the genes involved in photosynthesis of photoautotrophic organisms. Positive results were obtained and further proved the functional activity of these detected photosynthetic microbes in the deep-sea. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data was …

Contributors
Wu, Jieying, Meldrum, Deirdre R., Zhang, Weiwen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Many acidic hot springs in Yellowstone National Park support microbial iron oxidation, reduction, or microbial iron redox cycling (MIRC), as determined by microcosm rate experiments. Microbial dissimilatory iron reduction (DIR) was detected in numerous systems with a pH < 4. Rates of DIR are influenced by the availability of ferric minerals and organic carbon. Microbial iron oxidation (MIO) was detected from pH 2 – 5.5. In systems with abundant Fe (II), dissolved oxygen controls the presence of MIO. Rates generally increase with increased Fe(II) concentrations, but rate constants are not significantly altered by additions of Fe(II). MIRC was detected in …

Contributors
St Clair, Brian, Shock, Everett L, Anbar, Ariel, et al.
Created Date
2017

Coronaviruses are a medically significant group of viruses that cause respiratory and enteric infections in humans and a broad range of animals. Coronaviruses assemble at the internal membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum- Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC). While there is a basic understanding of how viruses assemble at these membranes, the full mechanistic details are not understood. The coronavirus envelope (E) protein is a small multifunctional viroporin protein that plays a role in virus assembly but its function is unknown. The two goals of this study were : 1. To identify and analyze the localization of MHV E and 2. To …

Contributors
Venkatagopalan, Pavithra, Hogue, Brenda G, Jacobs, Bertram L, et al.
Created Date
2012

Reductive dechlorination by members of the bacterial genus Dehalococcoides is a common and cost-effective avenue for in situ bioremediation of sites contaminated with the chlorinated solvents, trichloroethene (TCE) and perchloroethene (PCE). The overarching goal of my research was to address some of the challenges associated with bioremediation timeframes by improving the rates of reductive dechlorination and the growth of Dehalococcoides in mixed communities. Biostimulation of contaminated sites or microcosms with electron donor fails to consistently promote dechlorination of PCE/TCE beyond cis-dichloroethene (cis-DCE), even when the presence of Dehalococcoides is confirmed. Supported by data from microcosm experiments, I showed that the …

Contributors
Delgado, Anca Georgiana, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Cadillo-Quiroz, Hinsby, et al.
Created Date
2013

This thesis discusses the use of mass spectrometry and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), among other methods, to detect biomarkers of microorganisms in the environment. These methods can be used to detect bacteria involved in the degradation of environmental pollutants (bioremediation) or various single-celled pathogens, including those posing potential threats as bioterrorism agents. The first chapter introduces the hurdles in detecting in diverse environmental compartments in which they could be found, a select list of single-celled pathogens representing known or potential bioterrorism agents. These hurdles take the form of substances that interfere either directly or indirectly with the detection method. In …

Contributors
Hartmann, Erica Marie, Halden, Rolf U, Ghirlanda, Giovanna, et al.
Created Date
2012

On average, our society generates ~0.5 ton of municipal solid waste per person annually. Biomass waste can be gasified to generate synthesis gas (syngas), a gas mixture consisting predominantly of CO, CO2, and H2. Syngas, rich in carbon and electrons, can fuel the metabolism of carboxidotrophs, anaerobic microorganisms that metabolize CO (a toxic pollutant) and produce biofuels (H2, ethanol) and commodity chemicals (acetate and other fatty acids). Despite the attempts for commercialization of syngas fermentation by several companies, the metabolic processes involved in CO and syngas metabolism are not well understood. This dissertation aims to contribute to the understanding of …

Contributors
Esquivel Elizondo, Sofia Victoria, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Rittmann, Bruce E., et al.
Created Date
2017

Microbial electrochemical cells (MXCs) are promising platforms for bioenergy production from renewable resources. In these systems, specialized anode-respiring bacteria (ARB) deliver electrons from oxidation of organic substrates to the anode of an MXC. While much progress has been made in understanding the microbiology, physiology, and electrochemistry of well-studied model ARB such as Geobacter and Shewanella, tremendous potential exists for MXCs as microbiological platforms for exploring novel ARB. This dissertation introduces approaches for selective enrichment and characterization of phototrophic, halophilic, and alkaliphilic ARB. An enrichment scheme based on manipulation of poised anode potential, light, and nutrient availability led to current generation …

Contributors
Badalamenti, Jonathan Paul, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2013

Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) are topsoil communities of organisms that contribute to soil fertility and erosion resistance in drylands. Anthropogenic disturbances can quickly damage these communities and their natural recovery can take decades. With the development of accelerated restoration strategies in mind, I studied physiological mechanisms controlling the establishment of cyanobacteria in biocrusts, since these photoautotrophs are not just the biocrust pioneer organisms, but also largely responsible for improving key soil attributes such as physical stability, nutrient content, water retention and albedo. I started by determining the cyanobacterial community composition of a variety of biocrust types from deserts in the …

Contributors
Giraldo Silva, Ana Maria, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, Barger, Nichole N, et al.
Created Date
2019

Obesity is a worldwide epidemic accompanied by multiple comorbidities. Bariatric surgery is currently the most efficient treatment for morbid obesity and its comorbidities. The etiology of obesity is unknown, although genetic, environmental, and most recently, microbiome elements have been recognized as contributors to this rising epidemic. The role of the gut microbiome in weight-loss or weight-gain warrants investigation, and bariatric surgery provides a good model to study influences of the microbiome on host metabolism. The underlying goals of my research were to analyze (i) the factors that change the microbiome after bariatric surgery, (ii) the effects of different types of …

Contributors
Ilhan, Zehra Esra, Krajmalnik-Brown, Rosa, DiBaise, John K, et al.
Created Date
2016

Molybdenum (Mo) is a key trace nutrient for biological assimilation of nitrogen, either as nitrogen gas (N2) or nitrate (NO3-). Although Mo is the most abundant metal in seawater (105 nM), its concentration is low (<5 nM) in most freshwaters today, and it was scarce in the ocean before 600 million years ago. The use of Mo for nitrogen assimilation can be understood in terms of the changing Mo availability through time; for instance, the higher Mo content of eukaryotic vs. prokaryotic nitrate reductase may have stalled proliferation of eukaryotes in low-Mo Proterozoic oceans. Field and laboratory experiments were performed …

Contributors
Glass, Jennifer Blanchard, Anbar, Ariel D, Shock, Everett L, et al.
Created Date
2011

Human activity has increased loading of reactive nitrogen (N) in the environment, with important and often deleterious impacts on biodiversity, climate, and human health. Since the fate of N in the ecosystem is mainly controlled by microorganisms, understanding the factors that shape microbial communities becomes relevant and urgent. In arid land soils, these microbial communities and factors are not well understood. I aimed to study the role of N cycling microbes, such as the ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB), the recently discovered ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA), and various fungal groups, in soils of arid lands. I also tested if niche differentiation among microbial …

Contributors
Marusenko, Yevgeniy, Hall, Sharon J, Garcia-Pichel, Ferran, et al.
Created Date
2013

Bacteria of the Legionella genus are a water-borne pathogen of increasing concern due to being responsible for more annual drinking water related disease outbreaks in the United States than all other microbes combined. Unfortunately, the development of public health policies concerning Legionella has impeded by several key factors, including a paucity of data on their interactions and growth requirements in water distribution networks, a poor understanding of potential transmission sources for legionellosis, and limitations in current methodology for the characterization of these pathogens. To address these issues, a variety of research approaches were taken. By measuring Legionella survival in tap …

Contributors
Schwake, David Otto, Abbaszadegan, Morteza, Alum, Absar, et al.
Created Date
2014

Hydrothermal environments are important locales for carbon cycling on Earth and elsewhere in the Universe. Below its maximum temperature (~73 °C), microbial photosynthesis drives primary productivity in terrestrial hydrothermal ecosystems, which is thought to be performed by bacterial phototrophs in alkaline systems and eukaryotic algae in acidic systems, yet has received little attention at pH values intermediate to these extremes. Sequencing of 16S and 18S rRNA genes was performed at 12 hot springs with pH values 2.9-5.6 and revealed that cyanobacteria affiliated with the genus Chlorogloeopsis and algae of the order Cyanidiales coexisted at 10 of the sites. Cyanobacteria were …

Contributors
Fecteau, Kristopher, Shock, Everett L, Gould, Ian R, et al.
Created Date
2016

Protein folding is essential in all cells, and misfolded proteins cause many diseases. In the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli, protein folding must be carefully controlled during envelope biogenesis to maintain an effective permeability barrier between the cell and its environment. This study explores the relationship between envelope biogenesis and cell stress, and the return to homeostasis during envelope stress. A major player in envelope biogenesis and stress response is the periplasmic protease DegP. Work presented here explores the growth phenotypes of cells lacking degP, including temperature sensitivity and lowered cell viability. Intriguingly, these cells also accumulate novel cytosolic proteins in …

Contributors
Leiser, Owen Paul, Misra, Rajeev, Jacobs, Bertram, et al.
Created Date
2010

Malaria is a vector-borne parasitic disease affecting tropical and subtropical regions. Regardless control efforts, malaria incidence is still incredible high with 219 million clinical cases and an estimated 660,000 related deaths (WHO, 2012). In this project, different population genetic approaches were explored to characterize parasite populations. The goal was to create a framework that considered temporal and spatial changes of Plasmodium populations in malaria surveillance. This is critical in a vector borne disease in areas of low transmission where there is not accurate information of when and where a patient was infected. In this study, fragment analysis data and single …

Contributors
Chenet, Stella, Escalante, Ananias A, Clark-Curtiss, Josephine, et al.
Created Date
2014

Valley Fever (VF), is a potentially lethal fungal pneumonia caused by Coccidioides spp., which is estimated to cause ~15-30% of all community-acquired pneumonias in the highly endemic Greater Phoenix and Tucson areas of Arizona. However, an accurate antigen-based diagnostic is still lacking. In order to identify protein and glycan antigen biomarkers of infection, I used a combination of genomics, proteomics and glycomics analyses to provide evidence of genus-specific proteins and glycosylations. The next goal was to determine if Coccidioides-specific glycans were present in biological samples from VF patients. Urine collected from 77 humans and 63 dogs were enriched for glycans …

Contributors
Mitchell, Natalie Michelle, Lake, Douglas F, Bean, Heather D, et al.
Created Date
2019

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are a worldwide epidemic threatening human survival. Antimicrobial susceptibility tests (ASTs) are important for confirming susceptibility to empirical antibiotics and detecting resistance in bacterial isolates. Current ASTs are based on bacterial culturing, which take 2-14 days to complete depending on the microbial growth rate. Considering the high mortality and morbidity rates for most acute infections, such long time frames are clinically impractical and pose a huge risk to a patient's life. A faster AST will reduce morbidity and mortality rates, as well as help healthcare providers, administer narrow spectrum antibiotics at the earliest possible treatment stage. In …

Contributors
Syal, Karan, Tao, Nongjian, Haydel, Shelley, et al.
Created Date
2017

The greatest barrier to understanding how life interacts with its environment is the complexity in which biology operates. In this work, I present experimental designs, analysis methods, and visualization techniques to overcome the challenges of deciphering complex biological datasets. First, I examine an iron limitation transcriptome of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 using a new methodology. Until now, iron limitation in experiments of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 gene expression has been achieved through media chelation. Notably, chelation also reduces the bioavailability of other metals, whereas naturally occurring low iron settings likely result from a lack of iron influx and not as …

Contributors
Kellom, Matthew, Raymond, Jason, Anbar, Ariel, et al.
Created Date
2017

Coronaviruses are medically important viruses that cause respiratory and enteric infections in humans and animals. The recent emergence through interspecies transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) strongly supports the need for development of vaccines and antiviral reagents. Understanding the molecular details of virus assembly is an attractive target for development of such therapeutics. Coronavirus membrane (M) proteins constitute the bulk of the viral envelope and play key roles in assembly, through M-M, M-spike (S) and M-nucleocapsid (N) interactions. M proteins have three transmembrane domains, flanked by a short amino-terminal domain and a long carboxy-terminal tail located outside and …

Contributors
Arndt, Ariel, Hogue, Brenda G, Jacobs, Bertram, et al.
Created Date
2010

This thesis research focuses on developing a single-cell gene expression analysis method for marine diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana and constructing a chip level tool to realize the single cell RT-qPCR analysis. This chip will serve as a conceptual foundation for future deployable ocean monitoring systems. T. pseudonana, which is a common surface water microorganism, was detected in the deep ocean as confirmed by phylogenetic and microbial community functional studies. Six-fold copy number differences between 23S rRNA and 23S rDNA were observed by RT-qPCR, demonstrating the moderate functional activity of detected photosynthetic microbes in the deep ocean including T. pseudonana. Because of …

Contributors
Shi, Xu, Meldrum, Deirdre R., Zhang, Weiwen, et al.
Created Date
2013

Teleosts have the most primitive adaptive immune system. However, in terms of functionality the teleost immune system is similar to birds and mammals. On the other hand, enteric bacterial pathogens of mammals and birds present conserved regulatory mechanisms that control virulence factors. In this context, deletion of conserved genes that control virulence factors have been successfully used as measure to construct live attenuated bacterial vaccines for mammals and birds. Here, I hypothesize that evolutionary conserved genes, which control virulence factors or are essential for bacterial physiology in Enterobacteriaceae, could be used as universal tools to design live attenuated recombinant bacterial …

Contributors
Santander, Javier, Curtiss, Roy Iii, Chandler, Douglas, et al.
Created Date
2012

Like most other phototrophic organisms the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 produces carotenoids. These pigments often bind to proteins and assume various functions in light harvesting, protection from reactive oxygen species (ROS) and protein stabilization. One hypothesis was that carotenoids bind to the surface (S-)layer protein. In this work the Synechocystis S-layer protein was identified as Sll1951 and the effect on the carotenoid composition of this prokaryote by disruption of sll1951 was studied. Loss of the S-layer, which was demonstrated by electron microscopy, did not result in loss of carotenoids or changes in the carotenoid profile of the mutant, which …

Contributors
Trautner, Christoph, Vermaas, Willem Fj, Chandler, Douglas E, et al.
Created Date
2011

This dissertation explores the use of bench-scale batch microcosms in remedial design of contaminated aquifers, presents an alternative methodology for conducting such treatability studies, and - from technical, economical, and social perspectives - examines real-world application of this new technology. In situ bioremediation (ISB) is an effective remedial approach for many contaminated groundwater sites. However, site-specific variability necessitates the performance of small-scale treatability studies prior to full-scale implementation. The most common methodology is the batch microcosm, whose potential limitations and suitable technical alternatives are explored in this thesis. In a critical literature review, I discuss how continuous-flow conditions stimulate microbial …

Contributors
Kalinowski, Tomasz, Halden, Rolf U, Johnson, Paul C, et al.
Created Date
2013

This study examines the effect of the translation of traditional scientific vocabulary into plain English, a process referred to as Anglicization, on student learning in the context of introductory microbiology instruction. Data from Anglicized and Classical-vocabulary lab sections were collected. Data included exam scores as well as pre and post-course surveys on reasoning skills, impressions of biology, science and the course, and microbiology knowledge. Students subjected to Anglicized instruction performed significantly better on exams that assessed their abilities to apply and analyze knowledge from the course, and gained similar amounts of knowledge during the course when compared to peers instructed …

Contributors
Richter, Emily G., Lawson, Anton, Stout, Valerie, et al.
Created Date
2011

Synthetic biology is constantly evolving as new ideas are incorporated into this increasingly flexible field. It incorporates the engineering of life with standard genetic parts and methods; new organisms with new genomes; expansion of life to include new components, capabilities, and chemistries; and even completely synthetic organisms that mimic life while being composed of non-living matter. We have introduced a new paradigm of synthetic biology that melds the methods of in vitro evolution with the goals and philosophy of synthetic biology. The Family B proteins represent the first de novo evolved natively folded proteins to be developed with increasingly powerful …

Contributors
Stomel, Joshua M., Chaput, John C, Korch, Shaleen, et al.
Created Date
2011

Water quality in surface water is frequently degraded by fecal contamination from human and animal sources, imposing negative implications for recreational water use and public safety. For this reason it is critical to identify the source of fecal contamination in bodies of water in order to take proper corrective actions for controlling fecal pollution. Bacteroides genetic markers have been widely used to differentiate human from other sources of fecal bacteria in water. The results of this study indicate that many assays currently used to detect human-specific Bacteroides produce false positive results in the presence of freshwater fish. To further characterize …

Contributors
Kabiri, Leila, Abbaszadegan, Morteza, Bingham, Scott, et al.
Created Date
2012