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RESEARCH INTEREST

We have three lines of research.

1. We described a new pathogenicity island (FPI) in the Francisella tularensis genome in 2004 (see Nano, et al., J. Bacteriol. 2004). We have also provided evidience that the FPI encodes a type VI secretion system (T6SS) (see Ludu et al J. Bacteriol., 2008). T6SSs were only defined in 2006, and there is a great deal of basic work that needs to be done to understand the nature and mechanism of secretion via this system. We are using a combination of genetic, biochemical and cell biology approaches to separate the secretion components from the effector proteins that are needed for intracellular growth.

2. A second line of study constitutes our modest contribution to the problem of global warming. We have begun to engineer unicellular cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) to produce valuable products including high level of lipids to be used in the production of biodiesel. Cyanobacteria use light energy to fix both carbon dioxide and nitrogen from the atmosphere. Currently nitrogen fixation is done commercially using chemical methods that require large energy inputs, and this energy usually comes from fossil fuels. Hence the large scale cultivation of cyanobacteria could serve to sequester carbon dioxide, become a source of biodiesel, and act as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. These ideas are not that far fetched, as the large scale cultivation of the cyanobacterium, Spirulina, has been done for years as a source of food or food supplements.

3. A third line of investigation uses genes from cold loving microbes (psychrophiles) in a set of novel applications. Look for our publication on this around the end of 2008.

                                                               
                                                                 Contact Information.
                                                                 Dr. Francis Nano
                                                                 Department of Biochemstry  and Microbiology
                                                                 PO Box 3055 STN CSC
                                                                 University of Victoria
                                              bad photo 1                   Victoria, B.C. V8W 3P6
                                                                  Tel: 250.721.7074; Fax: 250.72108855
                                                                  E-mail: fnano   ATTT  uvic.ca