Erin Garza is a staff scientist in the Microbial and Environmental Genomics Group at JCVI specializing in synthetic biology. Dr. Garza’s research focuses on genetically engineering bacteria and diatoms to produce compounds of interest, domesticating and characterizing genetic parts for DNA cloning libraries, and developing and optimizing cloning techniques for non-model organisms.

Dr. Garza has worked on numerous research projects, some of which involved performing high-molecular weight DNA extractions for long-read sequencing of various algal genomes. She has also worked in collaboration with other JCVI scientists to express and purify proteins from Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria, and SARS-CoV-2 to be used in drug target studies and neutralization assays for the possible development of a new covid vaccine target.

Dr. Garza received her master’s and PhD in microbiology from Northern Illinois University. Her graduate work involved genetically engineering biofuel pathways, like homoethanol and butanol, into Escherichia coli.

Research Priorities

Developing a diatom model organism Phaeodactylum tricornutum
  • Characterizing gene expression under various growth conditions and determining the effects of promoter-terminator fidelity
  • Building a genetic toolbox for cloning
  • Using fluorescent proteins to determine protein localizations, especially those located within the carbon-concentrating mechanism
Engineering relevant marine microbes
  • Developing cloning methods and DNA libraries for Alteromonas macleodii
  • Designing and cloning plastic degradation pathways
Engineering metabolic pathways that may increase the survival rates of photosynthetic organisms under harsh environmental conditions
  • Identifying and characterizing newly discovered ice binding proteins for increased cold tolerance
  • Cloning biosynthetic pathways that produce UV resistant compounds like mycosporins and melanins

Publications

Expression of acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (aldB) improved ethanol production from xylose by the ethanologenic Escherichia coli RM10.
World journal of microbiology & biotechnology. 2020-03-31; 36.4: 59.
PMID: 32236784
Engineering a synthetic anaerobic respiration for reduction of xylose to xylitol using NADH output of glucose catabolism by Escherichia coli AI21.
BMC systems biology. 2016-04-16; 10.31.
PMID: 27083875
Increasing reducing power output (NADH) of glucose catabolism for reduction of xylose to xylitol by genetically engineered Escherichia coli AI05.
World journal of microbiology & biotechnology. 2013-07-01; 29.7: 1225-32.
PMID: 23435875
Engineering a homobutanol fermentation pathway in Escherichia coli EG03.
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology. 2012-08-01; 39.8: 1101-7.
PMID: 22776992
Partial deletion of rng (RNase G)-enhanced homoethanol fermentation of xylose by the non-transgenic Escherichia coli RM10.
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology. 2012-07-01; 39.7: 977-85.
PMID: 22374228
Adaptive evolution of nontransgenic Escherichia coli KC01 for improved ethanol tolerance and homoethanol fermentation from xylose.
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology. 2011-09-01; 38.9: 1371-7.
PMID: 21188614
Metabolic evolution of non-transgenic Escherichia coli SZ420 for enhanced homoethanol fermentation from xylose.
Biotechnology letters. 2010-01-01; 32.1: 87-96.
PMID: 19728107

Research Priorities

Developing a diatom model organism Phaeodactylum tricornutum
  • Characterizing gene expression under various growth conditions and determining the effects of promoter-terminator fidelity
  • Building a genetic toolbox for cloning
  • Using fluorescent proteins to determine protein localizations, especially those located within the carbon-concentrating mechanism
Engineering relevant marine microbes
  • Developing cloning methods and DNA libraries for Alteromonas macleodii
  • Designing and cloning plastic degradation pathways
Engineering metabolic pathways that may increase the survival rates of photosynthetic organisms under harsh environmental conditions
  • Identifying and characterizing newly discovered ice binding proteins for increased cold tolerance
  • Cloning biosynthetic pathways that produce UV resistant compounds like mycosporins and melanins