Dr. Om Singh,
assistant professor of biology, is
the editor of a new book, “Extremophiles: Sustainable Resources and Biotechnological Implications.”
Extremophiles, organisms that grow
under extreme conditions, have long been of interest to Singh, who says they have
great potential to help solve problems in global warming, biotechnology,
medicine, food production and energy.
Singh gathered, curated and edited
17 chapters about extremophiles in order to bring them to the attention of the
larger scientific community. Singh co-authored two of the chapters himself –
one with former Pitt-Bradford students Erin Copeland and Nicholas Choy that
looked at radiation-resistant microorganisms.
second chapter, written with scientists from the Department of Biotechnology, School
of Engineering of Loreno, at the University of São Paulo, Lorena, Brazil, looks
at replacing a chemical process used in the production of biofuel with a
has also been publishing and presenting articles with students and colleagues. His
student Choy presented research conducted in collaboration with Dr. Francis
Mulcahy, associate professor of chemistry, at the 11th New Jersey
Symposium on Biomaterials Science and the 15th Annual Undergraduate
Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences in Baltimore. Both
presentations looked at the potential of microorganisms in bio-nanotechnology
that Singh found in a cave in Virginia.
extremophile organisms survive in darkness and coolness. Their potential, Singh
said, is in replacing chemical processes with green biological processes in the
production of chemicals or biofuels. Another possible use, he said, is
targeting nanoparticles-mediated medicines at specific areas of the body. Choy
also presented results from this research at the Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi
Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference.
Gabani, a 2011 graduate, and Singh have also published in the journals
Extremophiles and Biotechnology and Applied Biochemistry this year. Singh
believes that publishing is important for top-level students.
don’t let my students leave my lab without publishing something,” he said of
student researchers, explaining that he will continue to work with them long
after the research is done to help them get published. Having published, he
said, really makes students stand out as they apply to medical and graduate
research student Choy also performed a research internship at the Johns Hopkins
School of Medicine in Dr. Guang William Wang’s laboratory over the last summer.
has even conducted research with high school students who are able to do
independent research with him through the Bridges program, which allows high
school students to take Pitt-Bradford courses for credit and at a greatly
work with Bradford Area High School student Manu Gajanan will be published in
an upcoming issue of the Journal of Emerging Investigators, and he is also
working with BAHS senior Aziz Yousif on extremophiles that thrive in an
joined Pitt-Bradford in 2008 after completing his postdoctoral research at The
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine exploring proteomics-based therapeutic targets
of cystic fibrosis.