New Seed Grant Recipients Announced

08/10/2015

The Johns Hopkins Water Institute is pleased to announce the new recipients of the faculty seed grant. This grant is awarded to faculty across various disciplines of the University to undertake transdisciplinary research and projects to improve the quality and quantitity of water. The latest recipients include:

Sarah Preheim, PhD is an assistant professor in the department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the JHU Whiting School of Engineering. In collaboration with Ishan Barman, PhD, who is assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department of the Whiting School, and Charles Young, PhD, principal professional staff at the Applied Physics Laboratory, a seed grant was awarded for the project titled "Identifying the source and triggers of microcystin production in natural waters." 

Microcystin is one of the most common and harmful toxins produced by algae. It is a secondary metabolite of many cyanobacteria species, such as Microcystis. Current knowledge about the ecology of toxin productions, including triggers and dynamics within a bloom, is incomplete. The goal of this project is to a) measure microcystin production at the single-cell level, b) Identify genotypes from natural populations, which are producing the toxin, and c) Identify interactions with other bacteria that stimulate toxin production. 

The project will be impactful in identifying the genotype and specific interactions between organisms producing microcystin production and will clarify the role of toxin genes in the ecology of cyanobacteria to identify targets to reduce toxin production even if complete pollution abatement cannot be prevented. 

Keywords:

Sarah Preheim, Ishan Barman, Charles Young, microcystins, seed grant