Cultivation and Genomics of Extremophiles.

Array data for non-lethal cold shock and lethal heat shock of Methanococcus jannashii is available in our GitHub repository, accessibly via the 'Data' link in the main navigation bar.

The Clark Group is also investigating the physiology and practical exploitation of microorganisms isolated from extreme environments, e.g., deep-sea hydrothermal vents. These versatile organisms, so-called extremophiles, are able to grow and survive in harsh environments and should thus be useful under a broad range of process conditions. Many believe such organisms are also the progenitors of all other organisms and may thus hold clues into the origins of life. For this research, we have constructed specialized apparatus that can duplicate the most extreme conditions on Earth known to support life, i.e., high temperatures and greatly elevated pressures. By studying extremophiles under these conditions, the Clark Group has been able to examine mechanisms by which these robust organisms adapt to stressful extremes and explore new bioprocesses at the outer limits of life.

Future Prospects
  • Identification of genes in extremophiles responsible for adaptation to high temperatures and pressures
  • Discovery of novel heat-shock proteins and chaperones
  • Discovery of new enzymes active under extreme conditions
  • Elucidation of enzymes and pathways for natural product synthesis in extremophiles

High temperature, high pressure bioreactor to culture extremophilic organisms

Rupture of the cell envelope by decompression of the deep-sea methanogen M. jannaschii