Recent Publications by IM Faculty and Students

February 7, 2019

Below are recent publications by IM students, faculty, and affiliates. Would you like your research showcased? Send your paper to in time for the next edition!

*Indicates ISU faculty and affiliates 

^Indicates publications by IM students


^Peroutka-Bigus, N. & *Bellaire B. H. Anti-parasitic Activity of Auranofin Against Pathogenic Naegleria fowleri. J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2018. Dec 5. Doi: 10.1111/jeu.12706.

Importance of this work: 
We report that the gold containing anti-rheumatoid drug auranofin is amoebicidal against Naegleria fowleri, the causative agent of the rapidly fatal Primary Ameobic Meningoencephalitis (PAM) infection in humans, frequently referred to as the brain eating amoeba. In vitro studies demonstrated that auranofin significantly reduced amoeba metabolic activity, increased cellular permeability, resulting in significant reduction in amoeba viability at biologically relevant concentrations auranofin. In unrelated studies, other have proposed a neuroprotective function to the drug due to anti-inflammatory activity related to known benefits in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Combined with our results, treatment of N. fowleri infections would likely benefit patients directly through amoebicidal activity and indirectly through reduction in inflammation resulting from meningoencephalitis.


*Jarboe, L., Klauda, J., Chen, Y., Davis, K., and Santoscoy, M. Engineering the microbial cell membrane to improve bioproduction. (a chapter contribution)

Abstract: Inhibition of the microbial biocatalyst often limits the attainment of the yields, titers, and rates needed for economic viability production of biorenewable fuels and chemicals. In many cases, this toxicity can be attributed to damage of the lipid-rich microbial membrane. Just as the composition of a reaction vessel can be altered to improve its resistance to corrosion, the composition of the microbial cell membrane can be altered in order to decrease its vulnerability to this damage. Contrastingly, in some cases the membrane can be weakened in order to increase the space available for intracellular accumulation of a product, or the overall abundance of the membrane can be increased in order to serve as a sink for a membrane-associated product molecule. This chapter reviews efforts to engineer the microbial cell membrane, with a focus on engineering strategies that improve bioproduction of fuels and chemicals. 


Chi, Z., Zhao, X., Daugaard, T., Dalluge, D., Rover, M., Johnston, P., Salazar, A.M., Santoscoy, M.C., Smith, R., Brown, R.C. and Wen, Z., Zabotina, O., Jarboe, L. 2019. Comparison of product distribution, content and fermentability of biomass in a hybrid thermochemical/biological processing platform. Biomass and Bioenergy120, pp.107-116.

Importance of this work: 

Thermochemical processing is a promising method for the rapid depolymerization of biomass. This study in- vestigated switchgrass, corn stover, red oak, hybrid poplar, and loblolly pine in terms of heteropolymer and elemental composition, and the distribution and composition of the fast pyrolysis products. All of the sugar streams contained too many inhibitors to be used at an industrially feasible concentration without addi- tional detoxification. The poplar-derived pyrolytic sugar syrup was particularly inhibitory, possibly due to the high abundance of aromatic hydrocarbons, such as xylenes, and anisoles. 

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