Rosenberg Institute Spring Seminar Series


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Wednesday, January 29 | 3:30 p.m.
Estuary & Ocean Science Center | Bay Conference Center

Characterizing coral skeletal proteins: Traditional and novel techniques

Jeana Drake, Zuckerman Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Haifa

Abstract: Stony corals precipitatetheir calcium carbonate exoskeleton in a highly controlled biomineralization process mediated by a variety of macromolecules including proteins. Fully identifying and classifying these proteins-a part of the ‘biomineralization toolkit’-and their functions is crucial to understanding their rolesin exoskeleton formation. To date, approximately 30 such proteins have been identified from several coral species and a handful of these have been studied intensively. In this talk, I will detail some standardbiochemical tools as well as newer techniques sourced from a variety of fields that are being used by myself and colleagues to better understand the coral biomineralization mechanism. I will also describe how improved sensitivityin protein sequencing bymass spectrometry is expanding the list of coral skeletalproteins. Our increased knowledge about the coral biomineralization toolkit is important for understanding how corals are likely to fare under predicted anthropogenic climate change scenarios in the coming centuries.

Bio: I earned my B.S. from the University of Miami, my M.S. from San Francisco State University (with most of my time spent at the Romberg Tiburon Campus) in Ed Carpenter’s laboratory, and my Ph.D. from Rutgers University in Paul Falkowski’s laboratory. I then spent three years as an NSF postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at UCLA. Over the past 10 years, my research has focused on coral skeletal proteins in both modern and fossil corals. As a Zuckerman postdoctoral researcher in Tali Mass’s laboratory at the University of Haifa, I study these proteins in coral tissue membranes and vesicles.


See the full Spring Seminar Series HERE.