Dr. Asim Bej

Professor, Microbial Molecular Genetics

Asim Bej.


(205) 934-9857
(205) 975-6097

Ph.D. (Molecular Genetics), 1988, University of Louisville

Research Description:

The research interest in my laboratory is the use of molecular approaches to study gene expression and regulation in prokaryotes. Currently we are pursuing, but are not limited to, the following areas of investigation:

  • Extremophile Microorganisms: The study of extremophile microorganisms has provided tools to understand the resilient nature of cellular processes that function in perfect harmony with the surrounding environment. Extremophiles present many unique physiological, genetic and metabolic features that can and are being exploited in biotechnology for human benefit. My lab is interested in the microorganisms that live in the Antarctic extreme cold conditions. We are investigating microbial community composition; cellular and genetic processes for adaptation to cold and subzero temperatures and ecosystem function using metagenomics approach and bioinformatics tools. Biomedical applications such as chemotherapeutic and antimicrobial functions of pigments from these Antarctic extremophiles are being pursued as well.
  • Microbial Pathogens: We are investigating comparative genomics and evolution of genome architecture of food and waterborne pathogens. We are also developing nucleic acids- and peptide-based technologies for rapid detection of microbial pathogens with the objective that early detection will help prevent disease incidences and outbreaks.
  • Past and present graduate students
  • Dr. Bej's curriculum vita


Representative Publications:

Edited Book:
Polar Microbiology: The Ecology, Biodiversity and Bioremediation Potential of Microorganisms in Extremely Cold Environments. 2009.
Edited by: Asim K. Bej, Jackie Aislabie, and Ronald M. Atlas, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL (ISBN: 978-1-4200-8384-2)

Manuscripts (Peer-reviewed):

J.P. Huang, A. Swain, R. Ravindra, D.T. Andersen, A.K. Bej. 2013. Bacterial diversity of the rock-water interface in an East Antarctic freshwater ecosystem, Lake Tawani(P)†. Aquatic Biosystems 9:4-12.

N. Mojib, A. Farhoomand, D.T. Andersen, A.K. Bej. 2013. UV and cold tolerance of a pigment-producing Antarctic Janthinobacterium sp. Ant5-2. Extremophiles 17:367-378.

J.T. Trevors, J.D. Elsas, A.K. Bej. 2012. The Molecularly Crowded Cytoplasm of Bacterial Cells: Dividing Cells Contrasted with Viable but Non-culturable (VBNC) Bacterial Cells. Current Issues in Molecular Biology 15:1-6.

J. Huang, N. Mojib, S. Watkins, K. Waites, R. Ravindra, D.T. Andersen, and A.K. Bej. 2012. Antimicrobial activity of PVP from an Antarctic bacterium, Janthinobacterium sp. Ant5-2, on multi-drug and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Natural Products and Bioprospecting 2:104-110.

J.T. Trevors, A.K. Bej, N. Mojib, J.D. van Elsas, and L.V. Overbeek. 2012. Bacterial gene expression at low temperatures. Extremophiles 16:167-176.

N. Mojib, D.T. Andersen, A.K. Bej. 2011. Structure and function of a cold shock domain fold protein, CspD, in Janthinobacterium sp. Ant5-2 from East Antarctica. FEMS Microbiolology Letters 319:106-114.

N. Mojib, T.H. Nasti, D.T. Andersen, V.R. Attigada, R.B. Hoover, N. Yusuf, A.K. Bej. 2011. The antiproliferative function of violacein-like purple violet pigment (PVP) from an Antarctic Janthinobacterium sp. Ant5-2 in UV-induced 2237 fibrosarcoma. International Journal of Dermatology 50:1223-1233.

G. Panicker, N. Mojib, T. Nakatsuji, J. Aislabie and A.K. Bej. 2010. Occurrence and distribution of capB in Antarctic microorganisms and study of its structure and regulation in the Antarctic biodegradative Pseudomonas sp. 30/3. Extremophiles 14(2):171-183.

N. Mojib, R. Philpott, J. Huang, M. Neiderweis, and A.K. Bej. 2010. Antimycobacterial activity of pigments isolated from Antarctic bacteria. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek: An International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology. 98(4):531-540.

Recent Book chapter:

J.T. Trevors, A.K. Bej, J.D. van Elsas. 2012. Hypothesized micro-environments for the origin of microbial life on Earth, in Genesis - In The Beginning: Precursors of Life, Chemical Models and Early Biological Evolution, COLE Series Book, Seckbach, J. & R. Gordon, (Eds.). Dordrecht, Springer Verlag, the Netherlands.