Dr. Alexis A Campbell

Associate Scientist, Nikolau Research Group

My research is focused on the molecular characterization of the biocatalytic machinery of fatty acid elongase (FAE) systems and understanding what types of gene elements impact fatty acid synthesis.  FAE systems synthesize very long chain fatty acids (> 18 carbon atoms in length), and are traditionally difficult to study due genetic redundancy and the membrane nature of the system. To overcome this, I am using techniques from synthetic biology and engineering a plant based FAE plug-and-play system in yeast. Additionally, a meta-analysis of global changes in the yeast transcriptome identified novel Fatty Acid Biosynthesis Regulation (FAB-R) gene candidates. Validation and characterization of the FAB-R gene candidates is being accomplished by four separate approaches: 1) Overexpression/deletion strategies; 2) Metabolite and transcriptome analyses of the fab-r single and double knockout strains; 3) Interrogation of the transcript/metabolite relationships by co-expression analysis; 4) Course-based authentic research model that extends this research into the undergraduate curriculum.


NSF Engineering Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC)

Biorenewable Feedstock: Yeast, let's mess it up!

Area of Expertise: 
Fatty Acid Metabolism
STEM Education Development
B.S. Biology, Iowa State University
Ph.D., Plant Biology, Iowa State University
4116 Biorenewables Laboratory