441 Mark Jefferson
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197
The Liepman lab aims to better understand two areas of plant biochemistry:
1) Plant cell walls - The walls surrounding plant cells are a complex matrix of polysaccharides, proteins, and often lignin. Cell walls define cell size and shape, provide protection against pathogens, and impart strength and flexibility to plants. Plant cell walls are also a source of renewable biomass useful for a multitude of applications. Research projects in the lab aim to identify and characterize enzymes involved in cell wall biosynthesis, and to understand the physiological functions of particular cell wall polysaccharides.
2) Photorespiration - Photorespiration is a metabolite salvage pathway that converts phosphoglycolate, a toxic byproduct of the oxygenase activity of rubisco, into phosphoglycerate. In collaboration with the Walker lab at Michigan State University, research projects in the lab aim to understand the temperature responses of photorespiratory enzymes, with the aim of improving metabolic models. We hope these models will eventually allow the engineering of plants with improved photorespiratory efficiency.