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Microbes perform functions from digesting our food to cycling elements in the environment. Aindrila Mukhopadhyay works to unpack some of their huge potential in her work.

She explains to listeners

  • The variety of microbe roles, from biofilms that hold the desert down to carbon-eating strains of microbial life;
  • How types of membrane transport and signaling lead to various lab modifications for effective studies; and
  • Examples of lab discoveries, including a fungus-bacteria combination that produces sustainable dyes. 

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay is a Biological Engineer Senior Scientist at Berkeley Lab. She studies types of membrane transport and stress response in microbiology, specifically bacterial stress response.

She helps listeners understand her field by describing the capability of microbes, including their ability to make compounds and products that are valuable and can address some of the biggest challenges facing us. She offers some fascinating examples such as Pseudomonas putida KT2440, which can eat carbon sources that other microbes have difficulty eating. 

She also explains how she works with these organisms in a lab setting, describing plasmid transport and utilizing stress responses in microbiology to allow cells to take in media. She also discusses how her work implements engineering strategies and how that dictates which organisms she may use. For example, she stays away from organisms with a bacterial stress response of spore production because manufacturing necessitates predictable and stable organism.

Finally, she gives examples of current projects as part of her work with the Bioenergy Research Center funded by the Department of Energy. She leads a group that studies organisms that produce biofuels and other bio products.  

For examples of her work, google her name for a list of publications and see her institution web site: biosciences.lbl.gov/profiles/aindrila-mukhopadhyay.

Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK

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