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Haddix Lab Nima Culture

Faculty Research Interests 


Karen Stine
Primary research interests are in molecular mechanisms of toxicity, including:

1. The role of the highly conserved heat shock or stress proteins (which are induced in many diverse organisms following heat or toxicant exposure) in normal and abnormal cell function.  Past projects have focused on demonstration of the induction of thermotolerance in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans both by heat shock and by inhibitors of oxidative phosphorylation; and on the role of catalase in stress protection in yeast.
2. The relationship between cell stress and effects on energy metabolism in cells.

3. The relationship between neurotoxins and neurodegenerative disorders. 

Other interests include the evolution of toxins, and the study of molecular mechanisms behind the assembly and firing of cnidocytes (modified epithelial cells found in animals from the phylum Cnidaria) and the subsequent death of the cnidocyte. 

Ben Okeke
Professor Okeke is a Distinguished Research Professor of Industrial and Environmental Microbiology, in the Department of Biology. His research interests include: biofuel and co-products, biosensors, bioremediation, enzyme biotechnology, effects of pollutants on microbial communities, indicators of microbiological safety of water and food, and genetic engineering of microbes. He teaches industrial microbiology, environmental microbiology, general microbiology and directed research. Professor Okeke did postdoctoral work at the University of California, Riverside; Gifu University, Japan; and the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Trieste, Italy. Dr. Okeke has 60 research papers in peer reviewed journals, two US patents, numerous conference abstracts and several research grants including a million dollar grant for research on fuel ethanol from biomass. He is a winner of the Ida Belle Young Endowed Professorship award and the founding Director of the Bioprocessing and Biofuel Research Lab (BBRL).

Pete Haddix

Research in the Haddix laboratory seeks to define the physiological roles of a red, cell-associated pigment made by the soil bacterium Serratia marcescens. Our previous work (PMID: 18805986) has shown a negative effect of the pigment prodigiosin on production of the cellular energy storage compound ATP. Work nearing completion has begun to define a positive role for prodigiosin in energy production as well when cellular energy levels are low. Future work will test both negative and positive functions via prodigiosin production in a normally non-pigmented, heterologous host bacterium. Finally, mutation rate studies will be employed to test a possible antioxidant role for prodigiosin pigment in protection of the cellular genome.

Clark Danderson
My research has primarily dealt with the systematics of the carrot plant family, Apiaceae. In particular, my current focus involves elucidating the phylogenetic relationships of the taxonomically complex Arracacia clade which comprises some 12 genera and 111 species distributed in montane regions of Central and South America. My work indicates that many of the genera are polyphyletic and that the morphological and anatomical characters used to traditionally delineate generic boundaries are overlapping and variable. To accomplish this task, I am using sequence data from nuclear ribosomal and noncoding chloroplast DNA. Ultimately, this research intends to make the taxonomy of the group more accurately reflect their evolutionary relationships. Besides systematics, I also have interests in plant-insect interactions as well as plant and insect monitoring and field surveys. Additionally, my hobby in beekeeping may present further avenues of research.