SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series, Danny Ducat, design of synthetic microbial consortia

Monday, August 26

Danny Ducat

MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan state University, USA

Danny Ducat is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University, USA. His research emphasis is in photosynthetic processes of cyanobacteria and in using engineering techniques to repurpose these organisms for sustainable biotechnologies.

Title: Engineering modular, light-driven microbial consortia: tapping cyanobacterial potential as an alternative carbohydrate feedstock

A number of research activities in the Ducat Lab are centered around cyanobacterial strains that have been engineered to reroute the CO2 they fix into sugars that are secreted. These strains provide a platform to both study how photosynthesis is regulated in response to changes in carbon partitioning, as well as provide an alternative carbohydrate feedstock with advantages relative to traditional plant-based crops (e.g., sugarcane). We are exploring the utilization of these strains through the development of modular, light-driven microbial communities where heterotrophic microbes are co-cultivated with sucrose-secreting strains of cyanobacteria, generating robust consortia which can transform the secreted sucrose into a range of useful products and biological services. In this seminar, I will discuss recent advances in our design of synthetic microbial consortia, then outline our ongoing efforts to utilize these artificial systems to gain “bottom-up” insight into the emergent properties of natural microbial communities.

Host: Rui Miao