Dr. Paula Welander: Ancient Fats in Modern Bacteria


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The Fall 2017 Biology Seminar Series continues with Dr. Paula Welander’s talk, "Ancient Fats in Modern Bacteria."

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Microbial organism have had a significant impact on Earth’s environment over geological time scales. But studying microbes in the context of Earth’s distant past can be challenging as microbes do not readily leave diagnostic morphological fossils. However, lipid biomarkers, organic molecules produced by microbes today and preserved in sedimentary rock, have the potential to function as robust molecular fossils that allow us to identify the existence of ancient microbes and to reconstruct ancient environmental conditions.  In my research group, we focus on studying the biosynthesis and physiological function of lipid biomarkers in modern bacteria so that we may provide the insight and information necessary to better interpret microbial biomarker signatures found in the rock record.