PhD Title: Programmed cell death in cyanobacteria
My research focuses on the factors which regulate programmed cell death (PCD) in cyanobacteria. Specifically, I study PCD in the marine cyanobacteria Trichodesmium which form extensive blooms in the tropical and subtropical surface-oceans. Trichodesmium undergoes an autocatalytic, genetically programmed cell death in response to environmental stressors such as high irradiance and Fe limitation. They have key enzymes of the eukaryotic PCD and several proteins from the metacaspase family. I study the role of PCD in blooms and cell death mechanism in Trichodesmium. My work involves both laboratory experiments with Trichodesmium cultures, and field experiments with natural Trichodesmium blooms. Molecular and physiological approaches are applied to examine expression of PCD in Trichodesmium at both the genetic and protein levels.