Current Laboratory Members

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Lab photo June 2014. [Left to right]  Aynom Tsegay Misghina, Feng Long, Jinhua Wang, Quiyuan Huang, Liangliang Wang, Robert Hawes, Hannah Bullock, Bai Li, Barny Whitman, and Lv Zhe.

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Barny Whitman






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Hannah Bullock. Doctoral student in Microbiology. My research is focused on the metabolism of the marine organo-sulfur compound dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) by Ruegeria pomeroyi DSS-3. DMSP may be degraded via two pathways in R. pomeroyi, the cleavage pathway and the demethylation pathway. The cleavage pathway produces the volatile sulfur compound DMS, the largest natural source of atmospheric sulfur, while the demethylation pathway produces 3-methylmercaptopropionate (MMPA) which may be used as a C and S source for the bacterial cell. I focus primarily in the enzymes involved in the demethylation pathway. Specifically, I am studying how these enzymes are regulated and how their regulation effects use of the demethylation pathway.   I am also interested in the alternative roles of the various isozymes of the demethylation pathway enzymes present in R. pomeroyi.  






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Feng Long. Doctoral student in Microbiology. My research interest mainly focuses on the sulfur metabolism, especially the biosynthesis pathway of methionine, in Methanococcus maripaludis. Methanogens that assimilate sulfide and S0 as sole sulfur sources are ideal model organisms for the study of sulfur metabolism on the early Earth. They may shed light on ancient sulfur metabolism and its evolutionary process.







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Lv Zhe. Postdoctoral research associate.  I have been working on methanogens since my doctoral studies.  I am currently involved in engineering Methanococcus maripaludis, an excellent model organism for methanogens to promote biogas production as well as enzyme studies in marine alpha-Proteobacterium to gain more insights of the dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP) metabolism in the ocean. I am also serving as an instructor for the UGA-iGEM team which is dedicated to developing new parts and tools for methanogens using synthetic biology. The team has been awarded a silver medal at the 2013 North American iGEM Jamboree and best undergraduate poster award at the BSRI 2014 Annual Retreat. To find out more, please visit and




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Qiuyuan Huang. Postdoctoral research associate. The focus of my research is on characterizing the biodiversity of bacterial DMSP degradation and its implications for global sulfur cycling. I am trying to capture the environmental factors regulating DMSP metabolism and test the hypothesized functions for DMSP using model organisms representing the DMSP-degrading bacteria. Specifically, I will integrate experimental approaches to control DMSP availability and cell biomass, to track the fate of DMSP carbon and sulfur, and to determine expression level of key genes.






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Jinhua Wang. Visiting Scientist. Southwest Forestry University, Kunming, Yunnan, P.R. China








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Aynom Tsegay Misghina. Visiting graduate student intern from Wageningen University, Netherlands. My project focuses on making two tools, one for modulating the expression of endogenous methanococcal genes and one for in-frame deletion of methanococcal genes.






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Bai Li. PhD Plant Nutrition from China Agricultural University. Currently cultivating strictly anaerobic gut microbes for extraction of DNA as a standard for diagnostics.