Featured faculty

Stuart Gordon, PhD, Presbyterian College

PROJECT TITLE: Insights into chronic anemia through comparative functional analysis of the fish gut microbiome

Members of the Channichthyidae family (the icefishes) are the only vertebrate group lacking the iron-containing oxygen transport metalloprotein hemoglobin. This mutant condition likely reduces their need to extract iron from their diet. We hypothesized that the gut microbiome of icefishes possesses different functional capacity compared to microbiomes of closely-related red-blooded counterparts and other teleosts, and that these microbial functions are likely to help balance iron acquisition in icefish hosts, as well as helped the notothenioids adapt to their extreme Antarctic environment.

Specific aim 1. Sequence metagenomic DNA from the guts of four diverse fish species, spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosus), flathead mullet (Mugil cephalus), blackfin icefish (Chaenocephalus aceratus) and black rockcod –(Notothenia coriiceps), and functionally classify those sequences by gene ontology (function) using bioinformatics analysis tools.

Specific aim 2. Train an undergraduate mentee in the analysis of DNA sequence data and the use of bioinformatics tools designed for that purpose.

A SC INBRE Bioinformatics Pilot Project Program grant provided funding for sequencing to identify gene sequences from the black rock cod (Notothenia coriiceps) that potentially contribute to the maintenance of iron homeostasis and to meet with collaborators to prepare a NSF proposal.

Our project has the potential to contribute to understanding the role of the microbiome in iron homeostasis in healthy humans and those with anemic conditions.

January 26, 2018