(6jp) Novel Approaches for Prebiotic Detection and Control of Microbial Communities

Authors: 
Enam, F., Iowa State University
Research Interests:

Prebiotics are important glycans that shape the human gut microbiota from as early as, shortly after birth, for example with human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) found in breast milk. Given their benefits, there has been a lot of interest in replicating their function by synthesizing them. Numerous approaches have been developed for their large-scale synthesis, however, the structural analysis of glycans is challenging and is under steadily increasing demand. The range of analytical techniques currently accessible to analyze glycans is limited by a lack of suitable high-throughput techniques. I have developed two platforms for the development of high-throughput, linkage-specific screening of glycans. The first is based on a genetically engineered whole-cell biosensor and the second based on an enzymatic, paper-based assay for determination of the type of fucosylation in glycans. This part of the work provides new techniques to enable a streamlined synthesis process for HMOs with a significant reduction in analysis time of new producer strains. The platform paves the way for development of a glyco-barcode assay for rapid analysis of key glycosylation patterns not only in biosynthesis platforms but also for diagnosis or monitoring disease states in different biomarkers.

Teaching Interests:

I am very excited by the opportunity to teach classes in chemical engineering. I have a strong academic background in undergraduate and graduate level chemical engineering, biochemistry and statistics coursework and diverse teaching experiences. I am prepared to teach all core undergraduate and graduate courses and develop new electives based on my research background, particularly in synthetic biology, bioengineering and glycobiology. My teaching would extend beyond the classroom to the laboratory, engaging students in an interdisciplinary approach and developing transferrable skills to complement their technical expertise for industry or academia.