Steve D. Aust
Dr. Aust's research interests are the metabolism of iron and the biological degradation of environmental pollutants by white rot fungi.
The first project involves the iron storage protein ferritin and the loading of iron into ferritin by ceruloplasmin. Molecular biology techniques are being used to study the heavy and light chains of ferritin and ceruloplasmin and to determine the functions of these proteins for the control of cellular iron levels.
The white rot fungus project involves enzymes that the fungi produce to degrade lignin in wood. These enzymes include peroxidases, and oxido-reductases. This system is also applicable for the biodegradation of a wide variety of otherwise very recalcitrant environmental pollutants. We are currently making better, more versatile enzymes by site-directed mutagenesis.
Outside the laboratory Dr. Aust enjoys the outdoors, mostly on horseback.