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Penn State Coronavirus Updates

World in View: Bioprospecting in Search of Nature’s Extreme Microbes

  • Monday, April 12, 2021
  • 1:00 PM- 2:15 PM
  • Zoom Link Will be provided

A discussion led by Dr. Jay Regan (Penn State) and Dr. Ignacio Vargas Cucurella (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile)

We use microbes to catalyze many useful reactions for us, from cleaning water to generating energy to recovering nutrients. Often the reactions they catalyze would proceed faster under chemical or thermal conditions that would be lethal to many microbes. However, microbes exist that can survive and even thrive in those extreme conditions, and Drs. Regan and Vargas Cucurella have been bioprospecting from extreme environments in Chile and the U.S. to find extreme-tolerant microbes that can be useful in environmental biotechnology applications such as electricity production from wastes and contaminant removal from groundwater. This virtual engagement will involve a discussion of some of the extreme conditions that would favor reactor design, environments that mimic these extreme conditions, and strategies to recover microbes living in these locations.

Jay Regan (Professor of Environmental Engineering) and Ignacio Vargas Cucurella (Associate Professor in Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering) have collaborated for years on bioprospecting efforts, which involves searching for novel microbes that thrive under extreme conditions of potential use in various applications. Their work has focused on extreme microbial activities that can improve performance of bioelectrochemical systems for electricity production from wastes or natural organics, anaerobic digestion for biomethane production, and arsenic and perchlorate removal.

Please note: Registration for events in this series is required and, given the topics and speakers, we anticipate interest to be high. For this reason, each event is limited to 25 students and early registration is strongly encouraged. Schreyer Scholar participants will receive a complimentary electronic gift card; we ask that you stay for the full session to be eligible.

Event Contact

Sarah Lyall-Combs
Schreyer Scholar Taylor Haddad

The ‘Schreyer experience’ goes beyond checking off boxes for honors requirements. It’s a transformative experience that allows students to explore a wide array of interests with the support of an incredible team of University leaders and mentors.

Taylor Haddad '19 Biobehavioral Health

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