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Provost Lecture Series: Discussing biofuel research

2/3/2012

The next Provost Lecture Series at Austin Peay State University will feature a biology professor whose latest research may have implications in the area of biofuel production.

Dr. Sergei Markov, associate professor in the APSU Department of Biology, will speak at 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 9 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303. The event is free and open to the public.

The title of his talk is “Conformational regulation of hydrogenase gene expression in algae.”

Markov will present will present data that had demonstrated the relationship between conformation of hydrogenase gene and its function in green microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii.  Hydrogenase gene in the oxygen-free environment activates algal production of hydrogen gas, which is one of the potential energy carriers of the future.

The research showed that a loop conformation exists in the hydrogenase gene when algal cells are exposed to oxygen and the hydrogenase gene is inactive. In contrast, under oxygen-free conditions, when hydrogenase gene is active, no loop conformation in the gene region is present. 

The data obtained in this project may have various applications in the area of biofuel production from microscopic algae.  Better understanding of the regulation of algal genes will help to optimize generation of algal biofuels and in particularly hydrogen. 

Markov joined the biology faculty of APSU in 2006. He received his Ph.D. in microbiology from Lomonosov Moscow State University, where he started his research on biofuels. From 1991 until 1995, he worked in England at King's College London and Ecotec, Research and Consulting. Later, he was invited to the U.S. to join the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) of the U.S. Department of Energy in Golden, Colo., where he worked for several years.

His biofuel research is supported by several grants from the National Science Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency. He is author of more than 70 research publications on biofuels and a patent for hydrogen production by cyanobacteria.

As a result, his work has appeared in a dozen of publications on the Internet, including Science Daily, and on several foreign news websites.

Other sessions in the Provost Lecture Series also are planned for the academic year. All sessions are from 3-4:30 p.m. in the MUC, Room 303 (unless noted otherwise) and include the following:

Feb. 16: Cynthia Marsh, professor of art

Feb. 23: Dr. Christine Mathenge, associate professor of geology

March 1: Dr. Robert Shelton, associate professor of chemistry

March 15, MUC 307: Dr. Allyn Smith, associate professor of physics

March 22: Dr. Sharon Mabry, professor of music

March 29: Dr. Cameron Sutt, assistant professor of history

April 5: Mark DeYoung, assistant professor of art

April 12: Dr. Tim Winters, professor of English

April 19, MUC 103: Dr. Jeffrey Wood, professor of music

The Provost Lecture Series seeks to foster a spirit of intellectual and scholarly inquiry among faculty, staff and students. The program will be used as a platform for APSU faculty members who are recent recipients of provost summer grants, who have been awarded faculty development leaves and who have engaged in recent scholarly inquiry during sabbatical leaves.

APSU faculty members with recent research of acclaim also will be given a platform within this series. In addition, other faculty members of local or widespread renown will be invited to lecture within this series.

For more information about the Provost Lecture Series, call Dr. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of academic affairs at APSU, at (931) 221-7992 or email him at johnsonb@apsu.edu. - Dr. Melony Shemberger