Prof. Chundawat is part of a Rutgers-led collaborative research team selected by the Department of Energy (as part of DOE’s Funding Opportunity Announcement in the area of ‘Bioimaging Research for Bioenergy’) to advance research in the development of biological systems for the production of biofuels and bioproducts. The title of the project is “In planta single-molecule imaging and holographic force spectroscopy to study real-time, multimodal turnover dynamics of polysaccharides and associated carbohydrate metabolites”. This project will involve close collaborations with researchers at Vanderbilt University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The project aims at making innovations in the development and utilization of multimodal single-molecule manipulation/imaging techniques through integration of holographic optical tweezers, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy, single-particle tracking, and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy to investigate key metabolic processes in live plant cells. Development of such real-time “in situ” imaging methods will allow scientists to observe how nature’s microscopic processes work at the single-cell level with unprecedented molecular detail. Here, the Rutgers led team will focus specifically on characterizing and studying cellular processes relevant to the synthesis of plant cell wall polysaccharides. This work will greatly advance our understanding of in vivo cell wall synthesis and deconstruction, which will accelerate the development of better transgenic crops for bioenergy related applications.
Additional details on the DOE announcement can be found online here (https://www.energy.gov/articles/department-energy-announces-40-million-bio-based-research).