Lab Research Focus: Fermentation, Genetic Engineering, Enzyme Mechanisms
A key part of my work at UAB is serving as the Director of the Fermentation Facility. In addition to and in conjunction with its service activities, the facility houses education and research. The goal of one project is the optimization of the production of recombinant proteins in E. coli. We are developing algorithms to control a glucose-feed pump in order to optimize the production of recombinant proteins by E. coli growing in L-broth. In this way it is possible to avoid both the general and specific catabolite repression of expression. Furthermore, we have elucidated some of the remaining limited components (in addition to carbon source) for growth in L-broth and determined cost-effective sources of these components. Currently, we are studying the interrelationships of nutrients, antibiotic concentration, plasmid copy number, transcription rate and the translation rate of recombinant protein by mathematical modeling.
In collaboration with Dr. Leo Hall, I am developing strains of cyanobacteria to sequester metals from water impoundments. One particular expression system, the metal-responsive, smt system for cyanobacteria is under particularly intense investigation of its structure and function. The structure/function relationships of the transcription regulator, SmtB, is under investigation by mutagenesis, physical studies and physiological studies.
Finally, I am interested in the mechanism of slow-, tight-binding inhibitors of enzymes. The mechanisms of proteinaceous inhibitors of the metalloproteases are elucidated by kinetic investigations. The data are fit to mathematical models developed for specific mechanisms. The most consistent models are then confirmed by independent studies.
Kenneth B. Taylor (b. 1935), Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Oberlin College in 1957 and an M.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1961. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1967 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His dissertation concerned the enzymology of biological nitrogen fixation. After a period as an Assistant Professor of Biology at MIT, he joined the UAB faculty in 1970. Dr. Taylor spent a sabbatical year (1978-79) as Visiting Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin in the laboratory of Dr. W.W. Cleland. Dr. Taylor is Director of the Fermentation Facility at UAB. His research is supported by grants from the Tennessee Valley Authority, NIH, The Mississippi/Alabama Sea Grant Consortium and several manufacturing concerns.