Microbiology - Research - Biological Sciences - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Microbiology Research

A wide range of microorganisms are studied at UC from Antarctic soil microbes and marine fungi to the evolution of virulence through horizontal gene transfer in bacteria.

Extreme environments such as Antarctica are fascinating to study because they are very harsh on living organisms. Some microbes cling to life on or even in rocks that are subjected to sub-zero temperatures for much of the year.  Our research investigates how these organisms manage to survive and grow.

Developing natural products for use in medicine and agriculture is another area of investigation at UC, research is focused on bioactive compounds from fungi from both marine and tropical environments.

The Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) is a research centre with the aim of contributing to the understanding and more effective management of emerging biotechnologies such as risks of genetically modified/engineered organisms.

Examples of research include

  • Decomposition of oil in Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems.
  • Fundamental studies on microbial biomass determinations.
  • Measuring the effect of mutators on horizontal gene transfer between species.
  • Designing and evaluating conjugative vectors to transform human and yeast mitochondria.
  • The bioactivity of saline fungi and actinomycetes
  • Analysing the monocot-infecting mastrevirus, Maize streak virus (MSV), which is responsible for huge maize crop losses amongst subsistence farmers in Africa.

Microbiology research at UC uses a wide range of techniques from simple serial dilutions to isolate single cells to our Gene Sequencer to "read" the DNA of an organism.

Research Staff

  Prof Jack Heinemann
Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI)
Dr Arvind Varsani Dr Arvind Varsani

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