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About Miguel A Ballicora

Starch & Enzyme Evolution
Our research focuses on the enzymes of the synthesis of glycogen in bacteria, and starch in plants, with a particular interest in their molecular evolution. These metabolic pathways are excellent candidates to study evolution of molecular function. They are related and developed early in evolution. In addition, they are regulated and composed by few enzymes. We intend to find how regulation appeared and evolved in this pathway, how catalysis was modified, and how specificity for substrates originated. We use molecular modeling, phylogenetic analysis, protein chemistry, enzyme kinetics, and recombinant DNA technology to address these questions.
Our projects are very important not only for the basic knowledge of the evolution of these pathways, but also for more immediate purposes. Starch is the most abundant energy storage compound used by plants and determines the yield of important crops. A deeper knowledge of the enzymes of this pathway allows the rational manipulation of starch production. There is an increasing interest in this field because of its impact. The fruits of this basic science would serve to attack a critical problem of mankind: malnutrition

Positions

Present Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Loyola University Chicago Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
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Contact Information

Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Loyola University Chicago
405 Flanner Hall
1068 W Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773-508-3154
Fax: 773-508-3086

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