PS Seminar Series -Isotopic Labeling-Based Metabolic Flux Analysis: From CO2 Assimilation to Storage Reserve Production in Plants

Abstract - Improving plant yield through metabolic engineering is an important goal to meet future food and other renewable resource demands. At the heart of plant productivity is the balance of carbon assimilation through photosynthetic activity and its partitioning including steps that respire carbon as well as those that produce protein, oil, carbohydrates or other compounds. Though central metabolism has been heavily studied and is perhaps the most well-documented set of metabolic pathways; the operation of any metabolic network is context specific and changes with conditions. Therefore, current understanding must consider this pliability. We will present recent insights with isotopic tracers, metabolite measurements and metabolic flux analyses that describe the dynamics of central carbon metabolism resulting in altered balance between resource assimilation and allocation.

Biography- Doug Allen’s research interests include the analysis of metabolic networks in plants by combined experimental and computational methods. These investigations give insight to plant metabolism, important for designing crops to meet future nutritional and chemical feedstock needs. Doug holds B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in engineering from Iowa State and Purdue University and completed postdoctoral research at Michigan State. He has worked as a process/plant engineer for the Archer Daniels Midland Company and as a scientist at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center prior to becoming a Principal Investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where he has been employed with the USDA since 2010.