Experts Available to Comment on Mono Lake Microbe

Released: 12/3/2010 9:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: University of Chicago
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Argonne National Lab/UChicago experts available to comment on life-redefining Mono Lake microbe

Newswise — Two scientists with joint appointments at Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Chicago are available to comment on NASA’s announcement regarding the novel discovery of a microbe in Mono Lake, California, which is able to thrive and reproduce using the toxic chemical arsenic.

The two scientists are Dion Antonopoulos, assistant biologist at Argonne and assistant professor of gastroenterology at UChicago; and Jack Gilbert, an environmental microbiologist at Argonne and assistant professor of ecology & evolution at UChicago. Both men have expertise in metagenomics,
(the recovery of genetic material directly from environmental samples).

A microbiologist, Antonopoulos works in Argonne and UChicago’s joint Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology, where he performs research in environmental microbiology and metagenomics. He applies next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to better understand the communities of microorganisms that live and breathe within soil systems as they relate to greenhouse-gas production and climate change. At the University of Chicago, Antonopoulos applies the same analytical approaches to understanding the assemblage of microorganisms that live on and within the human body as they relate to human health.

Gilbert pursues research in microbial ecology and biotechnology. He applies next-generation sequencing technologies to improve the yield of novel biocatalysts from microbial metagenomics. He also tests fundamental hypotheses in microbial ecology, focusing on analyzing microbial function and diversity. He is a member of the board of Genomic Standards Consortium, a non-profit organization committed to improving metadata standards for metagenomic data submissions.