EBI Personnel Directory Glass, N. Louise
N. Louise Glass
Dr. N. Louise Glass is a member of the EBI Executive Committee. She is a professor of Plant and Microbial Biology and Associate Chair of the department at UC Berkeley.
Dr. Glass, a founding member of the EBI research community, is currently principal investigator of the program “Dissecting the Pathway to Hyper-Secretion of Lignocellulolytic Enzymes in Filamentous Fungi.”
Her research lab on campus studies cell specialization, communication and non-self recognition -- all crucial mechanisms in microbial organisms such as filamentous fungi, in particular the fungus Neurospora crassa. In the EBI, she is focusing on how plant cell wall degradation is orchestrated by fungi, and how fungal enzymes are secreted, hoping to significantly improve the efficiency of plant biomass degradation by fungi.
Among her awards and honors was a Miller Professorship in 2012, which funded her work for six months to enrich the depth and understanding of the metabolic-regulatory network of plant cell wall deconstruction by Neurospora. She is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Filamentous fungi degrade most plant material, especially lignin and cellulose. This project's ultimate goal is to understand the genomic and secretory pathway remodeling that occurs when Neurospora crassa deconstructs plant cell walls/cellulose in order to use rational design to create these industrial strains that secrete high amounts of those enzymes, cellulases and hemicellulases.
This program is focused on studying the degradation of cellulosic biomass by the model fungus Neurospora crassa. The group analyzes N. crassa growth on plant biomass using a combination of systems biology, synthetic biology, and mechanistic enzymology.
This project is working to define how a filamentous fungus remodels both its internal and extracellular metabolism to efficiently deconstruct plant cell wall material. Neurospora crassa, a filamentous fungus found on burnt grasses, sugarcane stalks and sugarcane bagasse in nature, has been used in the laboratory as a model organism for 80 years; its genome has been sequenced, and many biochemical, molecular, genetic and cell biological tools are available for this organism. The team has characterized the transcriptional response when N. crassa grows on plant cell wall material and are characterizing regulatory processes associated with sensing plant cell wall material and induction of enzyme gene expression and secretion. It is developing high-throughput methodology and cell biological approaches to enable defining mechanistic aspects and function of proteins encoded by genes, that when mutated, decrease or increase hydrolytic enzyme production.