Cockroach Milk and Fluorescent proteins from Blue Walleye - Dr. S. Ramaswamy

June 15, 2017
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM
MJIS 1001


The pacific beetle cockroach is the only known Viviparous cockroach.  The accidental observation and the curiosity of a student who noticed that the gut of the embryos are filled with crystals making them shiny during gestation made us pursue studies on these crystals.  These crystals are in vivo grown in the cockroach and are crystals of a glycosylated protein, with lipid bound making them highly nutritious food.    

When Wayne Scheafer of Wisconsin noticed in the southern Canadian lakes that the yellow walleyes were turning blue, he brought a blue fish to Iowa.  The blue pigment (Sandercyanin) is a complex of a protein and biliverdin. The blue pigment shows bright red fluorescence when excited with UV light. Further study showed the molecular mechanism of how the walleye adapt to human environmental pollution (which increased ozone holes) by using the product of pollution to protect themselves from the UV. This an interesting example of watching adaptation in action and finding a molecular explanation.  

During the talk, I will present details on how these two curiosity driven studies have led to new biotech products.

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