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Wackett Lab

Research Overview

The Wackett laboratory studies microbial enzymes and pathways for biocatalysis and biodegradation and helped build the Biocatalysis/Biodegradation Database.

  • Biodegradation of PFAS – PolyFluorinated [Alkyl – Alkenyl – Aryl] Substances
  • Enzyme-based purification of urea and other commercial chemicals
  • Cyanuric acid hydrolase – Enzyme structure/mechanism and applications
  • Fate of agricultural chemicals and water protection
  • Biosynthesis of beta-lactone natural products
  • Hydrocarbon biosynthesis – Enzyme structure and mechanisms
  • Enzyme-based sensors for detecting toxicants
  • Predicting biocatalytic potential of enzymes and microbes

News Highlights

Lambros Tassoulas has been awarded a University of Minnesota Informatics Institute MnDRIVE Graduate Fellowship for 2022 to support his research at the intersection of informatics and the MnDRIVE program: Advancing Industry, Conserving Our Environment

NIH Biotechnology Training Grant Fellow, Lambros Tassoulas, is currently at an industry internship at GreenLight Biosciences in Medford, MA

Serina Robinson recently received a high honor from the United States National Academy of Sciences, sharing receipt of the Cozzarelli Prize.

Mikael Elias (PI) and Lawrence Wackett, Peter Jaffé (co-PIs) were awarded a grant from the MnDRIVE initiative entitled, “Novel Biodegradation Pathways of PFAS Compounds.”

Congratulations to Serina Robinson, who received the 2019-2020 MN Medical Foundation Marvin and Haddassah Bacaner Research Award for exceptional research achievement!

Good news! Lambros Tassoulas was recently selected as a trainee for the NIH Biotechnology Training Grant

Serina Robinson was selected to receive the 2019 Chen Award, the Outstanding Graduate Student Award for Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology. Way to go, Serina!

Serina Robinson has accepted a tenure-track faculty position as a group leader in the Environmental Microbiology Department at Eawag in Dübendorf, Switzerland near Zürich. Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is a part of the ETH university system and focuses on microbiology, chemistry, engineering and policy issues pertaining to water.

New paper - Aukema, K.G., L.J. Tassoulas, S.L. Robinson, J.F. Konopatski, M.D. Bygd, L.P. Wackett (2020) Cyanuric acid biodegradation via biuret in nature: Physiology, taxonomy and geospatial distribution. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 86(2): e01964-19. Featured on January 2020 AEM cover. Photo Credit: Jessica Konopatski and Megan Smith

AEM cover 

Serina Robinson was NSF GROW Fellow for 6 month in lab of Marnix Medema, Wageningen

Dominick Jenkins has moved to a position at Harvard in Emily Balskus Lab

Lambros Tassoulas successfully defended his M.S. thesis in Microbial Engineering summer 2019, started Ph.D. program in BMBB

Kelly Aukema collaboration with Aihara lab leads to structure of Moorella cyanuric acid hydrolase

Bioremediation startup founded – Minnepura Technologies, Inc.

Minnepura in the news - Startups out of the University of Minnesota

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