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Mike Dunn

I earned my B. S. degree in Biology from Delaware Valley University in 1985 and my Ph.D in Plant Pathology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1987. Despite my doctorate in plant pathology, I have always worked in the area of biological nitrogen fixation. In 1992, I began my post-doctoral research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Nitrogen Fixation Research Center. There I studied carbon metabolism in the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Rhizobium etli and Sinorhizobium meliloti, mainly biotin metabolism and the characteriztion of biotin-dependent enzymes. In 2004, the Nitrogen Fixation Research Center became the Center for Genomic Sciences. As a tenured Research Professor I focused on the functional genomics of rhizobial carbon metabolism until about 2012. My interest in rhizobial metabolism then shifted from carbon to nitrogen, specifically to the genetics and biochemistry of ornithine and arginine synthesis in S. meliloti. My current research focuses on polyamines, which are derived from ornithine in S. meliloti. We have described key points in the regulation of ornithine and polyamine biosynthesis and several physiological roles of polyamines in S. meliloti in free life and in symbiosis with alfalfa. We are currently investigating the molecular mechanisms behind the phenotypic effect exerted by polyamines.

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Articles by Mike Dunn

We are the Tail that Wags the Dog: Bacteria as the Dominant Life Form on Earth

We are the Tail that Wags the Dog: Bacteria as the Dominant Life Form on Earth

By Mike Dunn | November 25, 2013

Sometimes, those of us working in the biological sciences might just wonder why we’re putting all that time and effort into studying whatever it is we study. For those of us working with bacteria, our justification doesn’t have to go much beyond the fact that they are the dominant life form on the planet. They…

Understand EC numbers in 5 minutes Part 2: History of the EC system

Understand EC numbers in 5 minutes Part 2: History of the EC system

By Mike Dunn | July 10, 2013

In the previous article in this two part series, I explained how the Enzyme Commission names enzymes, and why it is so important. In this article I’d like to take you on a brief journey through the history of the Enzyme Commission. Like many histories in science (e.g. this!), it is fascinating and gives a…

Understand EC numbers in 5 minutes Part I: How EC numbers work

Understand EC numbers in 5 minutes Part I: How EC numbers work

By Mike Dunn | July 8, 2013

As a biologist you will no doubt have seen Enzyme Commission (EC) numbers. An EC number is group of four numbers separated by periods in papers discussing enzymes…something like this: EC 1.1.2.1. But do you know what these numbers mean? Or where they came from? Or why we use them? If not, I will aim…

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