Interdisciplinary Life Science - PULSe Great research is a matter of choice

John A. Morgan

John A.  Morgan Profile Picture

Associate Professor -Metabolic Engineering, Biocatalysis
Ph.D Rice University, 1999

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Professor Morgan's research group is interested engineering metabolism towards increased production of chemicals as well as the biosynthesis of novel biologically active metabolites. We are combining molecular biology with mathematical modeling of metabolism to enable the rational design of modifications to existing pathways.

Metabolic engineering of flavonoid biosynthesis in microbes

Plants are sources of an outstanding number of valuable secondary metabolites, which have important functions such as host defense from pathogens and herbivores. In addition, plant secondary metabolites impact human health. For example, most flavonoids are strong antioxidants and several flavonoids are implicated in preventing cancer growth and interfering with viral infections. Our group has reconstructed the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway in yeast.

Metabolic Flux Analysis of Photosynthetic Organisms

Because of their efficiency and sustainability, plants are excellent chemical factories. The ability to manipulate the accumulation of chemicals in plants is becoming a reality due to advances in genetic engineering. However, the current understanding of the regulation of plant metabolic fluxes is rudimentary. Our research is interested in developing tools to quantify metabolic carbon and nitrogen fluxes in plants, which is a key tool in evaluation of the effects of environmental and genetic influences on chemical accumulation in plants. We are combining the fields of metabolic profiling by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry with metabolic flux analysis. The combination of high-throughput analysis by GC/MS of plant metabolites with feeding isotopically labeled precursors will enable efficient calculation of fluxes.

Selected Publications:

Shastri, A. and Morgan, J.A. (2005) Flux Balance Analysis of Photoautotrophic Metabolism Biotechnol. Prog. 21: 1617-1626.

Chen, H. and Morgan, J.A. (2005) High throughput screening of heterologous P450 whole cell activity Enzyme Microb. Technol. 38, 760-764.

Jiang, HX., Wood, K.W. and Morgan, J.A. (2005) Metabolic engineering of the phenylpropanoid pathway in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 71: 2962-2969.

Morgan, J.A. and Rhodes, D., (2002) Mathematical Modeling of Plant Metabolic Pathways., Metabol.Eng 4, pp. 80-89.

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