For his research on Yarrowia lipolytica, a type of yeast commonly found in cheese, Winston Su of the Dept. of Molecular Biosciences and BioEngineering has found an unlikely sponsor: the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), a unit of the federal Department of Energy.
“Biotechnology and synthetic biology offer enormous potential to manage and create value from wastes and byproducts that are derived from agriculture, as well as food production, processing, and consumption,” Winston explains. “My research aims to realize this potential by filling in the fundamental knowledge gaps, as well as developing practical process engineering technologies that are necessary for bringing lab research to industrial practice.”
From his approved proposal, JGI will provide RNA-sequencing and analysis of 92 samples from Winston’s lab to help elucidate the regulation of lipid metabolism in the industrially important oleaginous yeast.
Winston’s long-term goal, to develop bioengineered yeast biorefineries from lipid wastes derived from agriculture, involves RNA-sequencing – which is very costly and requires special instruments for next-generation sequencing.
“We are excited to receive this grant from the DOE Joint Genome Institute,” he says, “since RNA-sequencing has become a critical tool in revealing gene expression patterns which is highly useful in understanding cellular processes in living organisms.”
He adds, “I encourage my CTAHR colleagues who are conducting research in functional genomics to take advantage of funding opportunities offered by the JGI.”
View the JGI’s list of approved proposals, including Winston’s “RNA-seq analysis of Yarrowia lipolytica to decipher synthesis of acetyl-CoA derived oleochemicals from waste lipid feedstock for biomanufacturing of biofuels and bioproducts.” For further information, visit the JGI.