Sayre Team Active Research Programs
Realization of Algae Potential (REAP)
Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center
National Alliance for Advanced Biofuel and Bioproducts - an Algal Consortium (NAABB)
BioCassava II: Nutrient Dense Cassava Products for Improved African Livelihoods
This research program seeks to improve the nutritional status of sub-Saharan Africans by developing viable cassava cultivars with enhances qualities of bio-available zinc, iron, protein, vitamins A and E, and reduced quantities of toxic cyanogenic glycosides. NMC performs this research as part of the Gates Foundation BioCassava Project.
Center for Advanced Biofuels Systems
This project develops transgenic organisms that have improved photosynthetic efficiencies by engineering enzymes with enhanced catalytic efficiency and by altering the regulation of carbon reduction pathways. NMC researchers also assess the energy efficiency (thermodynamics) of biomass and biofuel production by monitoring photosynthetic efficiency and energy partitioning into biomass by FTIR spectroscopy and micro-calorimetry using whole cells and cell fractions. NMC performs this research as a member and contributor to the Center for Advanced Biofuels Systems.
Supplement to Genome Annotation and Transcriptomics of Oil-Producing Algae
Engineering C3 plants with Carbon Concentrating Mechanisms for Enhanced Photosynthesis
In this project, researchers engineer Arabidopsis thaliana, a C3 plant, to concentrate CO2 near the active site of RuBisCO in order to favor carboxylation activity and improve photosynthetic efficiency.
Enhancing Biofuels from Genetically-Engineered Camelina
The goal of this project is to increase the harvestable energy yield of Camelina oil from the current level of 91 GJ/Ha/yr to over 160 GJ/Ha/yr and improve the composition of the oil to provide a more stable and energy dense biofuel feedstock. The program seeks to achieve this through a combination of improved cultivars, enhanced yield, and increased oil production. The overall goal of the project is to develop Camelina as a high energy- yielding source of biofuel. NMC participates in this program as part of The Center for Enhanced Camelina Oil (CECO).
Other Active Research Programs
Developing an Infrastructure and Product Test Pipeline to Deliver Novel Therapies for Citrus Greening Disease
Rajan Gupta, NMC Affiliate Researcher, LANL Staff Scientist
U.S. Citrus growers have a critical need for grove-deployable management practices that keep healthy citrus from becoming infected and infected trees from becoming symptomatic. This project presents a systems-based pipeline approach delivering commercial, grove-deployable solutions using a novel therapeutic delivery strategy and citrus transgenics. A data integration and analysis platform combining existing complex –omics/biological data with molecular/cellular research will steer hypothesis driven screening of inhibitors of multiple molecular pathways to provide solutions that can be optimized by combinatorial delivery to citrus. Research areas will include: 1) molecular interaction inhibitor discovery (gut membrane binding peptides, RNA aptamers and non-toxic chemical library screening) to block psyllid acquisition/transmission of the HLB-bacterium and/or bacterial growth in the plant; 2) dsRNA delivery to induce psyllid RNAi responses that block bacterium transmission or kill the psyllid (or both) and; 3) optimization of a novel therapeutic delivery system that has negligible environmental impact, is economical in comparison to current control strategies and is highly adaptable for different solution strategies. This research is funded by USDA NIFA via Kansas State.