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Amy Grunden

Department of Plant and Microbial Biology

William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, University Faculty Scholar

Assistant Director, NCARS

2322 Plant Sciences Building


My research program is focused on the study of microorganisms called extremophiles, which are capable of thriving in diverse extreme environmental conditions such as high or low temperatures, high salinity, acidic or alkaline environments.  The goals of the extremophile research conducted in my laboratory are first to understand the adaptive mechanisms extremophiles use to survive in harsh environmental conditions and second to exploit these adaptations for biotechnological applications.  Research projects currently underway involve using selected extremophile enzymes and synthetic biology approaches to (1) decontaminate toxic organophosphorus-based nerve agents found in some pesticides and chemical warfare agents, (2) generate transgenic plants with increased tolerance to harsh environmental conditions for the purpose of developing plants that can survive in marginal environments, and (3) use extremophile genes to optimize fatty acid production in microalgae for biofuel production and (4) develop a synthetic carbon fixation cycle using archaeal and bacterial enzymes to augment the Calvin-Benson cycle in plant systems.  Research in my laboratory has been funded by DOD, DOE, NASA, NCBC, NSF, and the USDA.

Courses Taught:

  • MB 351- General Microbiology
  • MB 714- Metabolic Regulation



Ph.D. Microbiology University of Florida, Gainesville 1996

B.S. Microbiology University of Florida, Gainesville 1993

Area(s) of Expertise

Microbial physiology and Microbial biotechnology


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