We are always looking for talented graduate students and post-docs
Projects in the DAN Lab
Metabolic regulation in microbial biofuel producers
The production of biofuels from cellulosic biomass holds promise as a source of clean renewable energy that can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Attaining this goal will require engineered microorganisms capable of economically converting cellulosic biomass into biofuels. The design of effective microbes relies on understanding the relevant metabolic pathways, their regulation, and how these integrated networks function as a whole. We have several exciting projects related to the sustainable production of biofuels using microbes, including engineering the anaerobic bacterium Z. mobilis to produce isobutanol and isoprenoid bioproducts, enhancing sugar catabolic activity in the cellulolytic bacterium C. thermocellum, and thermodynamic analysis of microbial metabolic networks.
Bile acid transformations by the human gut microbiota
An important way in which gut microbes affect human health is through their ability to chemically modify bile acids produced by the liver. Using an interdisciplinary approach that combines anaerobic microbiology, metabolomics, synthetic communities, and gnotobiotic mouse models, we are working towards 1) elucidating patterns of bile acid susceptibility and bile acid transformation activity across phylogenetically diverse gut bacteria; and 2) establishing predictive community-level models of microbe-bile acid interactions in the mammalian gut.
Metabolic remodeling during B. subtilis biofilm development
Bacterial biofilms are abundant in natural environments and play an important role in many clinical, industrial, and ecological settings. Due to the ubiquity and significant impacts of biofilms on human activities, there is a clear need to better understand the complex processes that control biofilm formation and development. Our lab is currently investigating a critical but poorly understood aspect of biofilms: cellular metabolism during biofilm development using B. subtilis as a model system. We seek to obtain a systems-level understanding of how metabolism is remodeled during biofilm formation, elucidate driving regulatory mechanisms controlling metabolic remodeling during biofilm formation, and understand the physiological relevance of major metabolic alterations during biofilm development.
Skills You Can Learn In The DAN Lab
HPLC and Mass Spectrometry
HPLC and mass spectrometry techniques are powerful and sensitive ways to answer questions about sophisticated microbial systems. Their broad use across many fields makes skills gained here easily transferable to further research.
Metabolomics is the heart of the DAN lab. Through examining changes to key metabolic pathways in microorganisms we can answer questions related to biofuels, biofilms, microbial stress response, and much more.
Genetic engineering, from targeted gene knockouts to creating entirely new pathways, allows for novel study of many microorganisms. Employing genetic engineering techniques allows us to investigate cutting edge microbiology.
Many of the microbes we work with are facultative or obligate anaerobes, providing a great opportunity to learn a variety of anaerobic techniques. Learning to culture, observe, and experiment with these anaerobes is a key part of the DAN lab.
Our lab is highly interdisciplinary with projects that touch on microbiology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and more. By working with others in the lab, you will be able to gain a unique perspective on the interconnection of these diverse fields.
Science is about more than just bench work and we are proud to be a part of efforts to share scientific thinking and discussion with the community here in Madison and beyond.
Science Expeditions and the WI Science Festival
At yearly events like UW’s Science Expeditions and the WI Science Festival we are able to bring the community in to tour and interact with labs, greenhouses, and gardens as well as to bring science out into the community with experiments and demonstrations. While sometimes the experiments can get a little messy, sharing scientific thinking and concepts with visitors of all ages is something we are happy to be a part of!
The DAN Lab’s YouTube channel makes our science open to everyone! We explain science concepts, provide videos of complex protocols, and explain routine lab procedures that our research group use every day.
Decoded is a hands-on activity designed to teach young learners the logic of the genetic code. Four colorful symbols are used to represent the four nucleic acids found in RNA. Participants can decode a message written in the colorful symbols using alphabet stamps in a method analogous to a ribosome translating messenger RNA into protein. The activity allows students to engage with molecular biology using stamps and markers as they match codons to reveal the secret message!
Interested In Joining?
For Graduate Students
We are currently accepting rotators for Fall 2022, if you are interested in rotating in our lab or have any questions please contact Dr. Amador-Noguez via email at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Postdoctoral Candidates
We are currently recruiting new postdoctoral candidates to join our lab, please see the attached position description.
For Undergraduate Students
Once you have taken organic chemistry and biochemistry, contact Prof. Amador-Noguez via e-mail. Please send your transcript and a statement on why you would like to join the lab.