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Dr. Carlos C. Goller

Research Areas:

  • Microbiology
  • High-throughput discovery
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Metagenomics and microbial genome analyses
  • Metabolic modeling
  • Open educational practices

Techniques:

  • Bacterial culture
  • DNA isolation
  • qPCR & digital PCR
  • High-throughput sequencing
  • Bioinformatics
  • Molecular cloning
  • Automation & high-throughput discovery
  • Metabolic modeling

Project Descriptions:

Gold and precious metals are in high demand. The increased desire for electronic components requiring gold and other metals and the environmental impact of mining present a challenge to developing sustainable sourcing methods. Fortunately, microbial communities have found ways to cope with gold toxicity by using unique genetic mechanisms to reduce toxicity and increase competitive advantage in bustling cities of microbes. One such fascinating microbe is Delftia acidovorans. Delftia have over 50 kilobases of sequence dedicated to producing a non-ribosomal peptide that allows precipitation of gold and kills pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (Johnston et al. 2013, Tejman-Yarden et al. 2019). For the last five years, we have leveraged the power of citizen scientists on our campus and high-throughput (HT) approaches to catalyze the discovery and better understanding of Delftia in numerous courses at NC State and NC Central University (Riley et al. 2020).

Dr. Carlos Goller, an associate teaching professor of biological sciences in the NC State College of Sciences and an instructor in the Biotechnology Program, and his students are studying how the microbes in compost help break down materials. (video 1 min, captioned)
Tryptic soy agar plates on black bench labeled Delftia acidovorans. Six plates on the top of the images and two on the bottom with one plate with red colonies and one labeled field sample.

Microbial Genomics & HT Discovery

Q: Can we successfully isolate Delftia acidovorans using selective media?

Student researchers will prepare and test selective media with the goal of isolating and characterizing novel Delftia acidovorans that could be used for bioremediation. Researchers will sequence and characterize isolates using Nanopore sequencing and microscopy techniques. This work will help improve protocols and genomes for analyses using free online platforms such as KBase (Dow et al. 2021).

BioRender diagram with two aims. Aim 1: isolate microbial communities from sites with electronic waste and use OT-2 liquid handler to isolate DNA and Quibit for quality control. Then sequence metagenomes.
Aim 2: Evaluate the effects of cultures inoculated with the collected samples and Delftia acidovorans or Cupriavidus metallidurans on electronic waste. 1) Sample/inoculate and 2) DNA preparation.

Bioremediation & Metagenomics

Q: What microbial communities persist in the presence of electronic waste and Delftia acidovorans

Student researchers will perform metagenomic analyses of the microbial communities that persist upon exposure of electronic waste to Delftia acidovorans and compost. This work will help improve the BIT 477/577 Metagenomics and BIT 295 Biotechnology and Sustainability courses and strengthen collaboration with the NC State Sustainability Office. 

Miro from Miroculus digital microfluidics device and Nanopore MinIONs sequencing samples. Vertical computer screen shows sequencing in progress.

Bacterial Transcriptomics

Q: How do Delftia spp. vary and regulate Delftibactin production?

Student researchers will use high-throughput (HT) approaches to analyze the genomes and transcriptomes of our collection of Delftia strains to elucidate the Delftia acidovorans core genome and mechanisms of Delftibactin production. Findings will improve the BIT 479/579 High-throughput Discovery course and allow hundreds of students across campus to submit samples and discover how some of the understudied microbes around us can help us recover critical metals and produce novel antibiotics.


References:

Dow EG, Wood-Charlson EM, Biller SJ, Paustian T, Schirmer A, Sheik CS, Whitham JM, Krebs R, Goller CC, Allen B, Crockett Z and Arkin AP (2021) Bioinformatic Teaching Resources – For Educators, by Educators – Using KBase, a Free, User-Friendly, Open Source Platform. Front. Educ. 6:711535. doi: 10.3389/feduc.2021.711535

Johnston CW, Wyatt MA, Li X, Ibrahim A, Shuster J, Southam G, Magarvey NA. (2013) Gold biomineralization by a metallophore from a gold-associated microbe. Nat Chem Biol. 2013 Apr;9(4):241-3. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1179. Epub 2013 Feb 3. PMID: 23377039.

Riley NG, Goller CC, Leggett ZH, Lewis DM, Ciccone K, Dunn RR. (2020) Catalyzing rapid discovery of gold- precipitating bacterial lineages with university students. PeerJ 8:e8925 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.8925

Tejman-Yarden N, Robinson A, Davidov Y, Shulman A, Varvak A, Reyes F, Rahav G, and Nissan I (2019) Delftibactin- A, a Non-ribosomal Peptide With Broad Antimicrobial Activity. Front. Microbiol. 10:2377. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02377

Image Credits:

Photos by Carlos C. Goller. Diagram created by Carlos C. Goller using BioRender.com.

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