MCB affiliated and Plant & Microbial Biology Professor Arash Komeili has joined the ranks of the Bakar Fellows, a program that provides up to 5 years of funding for faculty whose STEM innovations can translate to valuable commercial solutions and stimulate California's economy.

Komeili's lab uses the magnetosomes of magnetotactic bacteria as a model system to study the molecular mechanisms controlling the biogenesis and maintenance of bacterial organelles. Magnetosomes are membrane-bound crystals of magnetic iron minerals organized into chains via a dedicated cytoskeleton. Using a variety of approaches, they identify and investigate key genes involved in controlling magnetosome formation and function.

As a Bakar Fellow, he and colleagues aim to develop novel solutions to the complex environmental issues around the mining industry.  By taking advantage of a microbial phenomenon, the precipitation of metals in intracellular organelles, they hope to engineer microorganisms capable of biomining important metals. This platform will create hybrid bacterial vehicles that will simultaneously produce iron-based magnetic particles as well as concentrate metals of interest.

Learn more about the 2019–20 Bakar Fellows here.