Speaker: Lealon Martin

When: 12:00pm, Apr 26, 2023

Where: Webinar/Zoom


In collaboration with Dr. Seungchan Kim and Sandia National Laboratory’s Bioresource & Environmental Security Team, our research team seeks to identify key microbial and environmental factors for upregulating methanotrophy in typically methanogenic systems in agriculture and waste management, including landfills, waste-water, and rice cultivation, among others. To this end, we employ topological metabolic analysis to synthesize and reconstruct methane pathways in methanotrophic and methanogenic microorganisms. The overarching goal our collaborative effort with Sandia is to provide guidance on how to maintain stable consortia of microorganisms that convert greenhouse gases into usable biomass. In this talk, we will investigate the interplay between methane oxidation, Embden, Meyerhof and Parnas, Entner-Doudoroff, and other biochemical pathways with Serine and TCA cycles, using topological metabolic analysis (TMA), to interrogate conditions for optimal biomass production in methanotrophic bacterial cultures. Specifically, we focus on the development of a TMA framework that enables reconstruction of key biosynthetic pathways in Methylococcus capsulatus, an obligately methanotrophic gram-negative, non-motile coccoid bacterium. The TMA results presented consider specific uptake and growth rates at various conditions for methane substrate and biomass, respectively.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Lealon L. Martin is a faculty member in the Chemical Engineering Department at Prairie View A&M University. Dr. Martin also serves as Associate Dean (interim) of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering. He received his B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Tuskegee University, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at UCLA in the area of Process Systems Engineering. Prior to joining Prairie View, Lealon served on the faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY - with joint appointments in the Iserman Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Department of Decision Science and Engineering Systems – and on the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Martin’s primary research interest lies in the synthesis and reconstruction of metabolic networks using state space optimization-based approaches. Past projects include: probing metabolic networks in Chinese hamster ovary cells to identify energetic limitations in the translational and post-translational processes of monoclonal antibody production, investigating the potential of Eichhornia crassipes (water hyacinth) as an industrial-scale source of biomass, and exploring Pseudomonas putida for microbial fuel cell applications.

Dr. Martin’s current research in the area of systems biology deals with probing metabolic pathways found Brassicae-family microgreens to find ways to increase glucosinolate compound production rates. Glucosinolates (and isothiocyanates) found in microgreens have nutritional and potentially medicinal benefits that far exceed those in their mature counterparts. Thus, the research on cellular metabolic processes in microgreens is to better understand limits on glucosinolate production and the growth conditions that influence those limits. To this end we pose the several fundamental questions: (1) What metabolic pathway networks govern glucosinolate production in microgreens? (2) What are the limits on glucosinolate production over all metabolic pathway networks? and (3) What conditions influence network-controlled limits on glucosinolate production?

As an aside, Dr. Martin is also a licensed attorney and a member of the State Bar of Texas.