MBA scientists Glen Wheeler, Colin Brownlee, Andrea Highfield and Rowena Stern co-authored a paper in Nature Methods developing new genetic tools to improve our understanding of protist/microbial cell biology. The work was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The article is available here.
In many protists, we lack even basic information about their function, indeed, many of their proteins are completely novel to biology. Our input was to prove we could insert new DNA into a cultured haptophyte species (Isochrysis galbana) - one of 13 out of 39 species that was successfully transformed.
The Environmental Model System project involves 57 laboratories (including the MBA) and is looking at 39 species in a push to expand the types of cells available to understand their physiology and responses to the environment.