Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Sara Koupaei Rose Hills

Significance of Unique Rhamnolipid Production in Paraburkholderia sp.

I am interested in learning more about the unique rhamnolipid methyl esters (RMEs) produced by the pyrophilous bacterium Paraburkholderia sp. F3 and RMEs’ ecological significance. Previous endeavors in this project have uncovered the production of the unique RMEs by P. sp. F3, which first attracted attention due to its antibiotic activity against a pyrophilous fungus (Pyronema omphalodes) found in the same environment as P. sp. F3. After purification and identification of these antibiotic compounds, the RMEs were identified as analogs of the rhamnolipids produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a biosurfactant with applications in agricultural, pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics, and detergent industries. The small differences in the structures of the Pseudomonas rhamnolipids and the RMEs suggest that RMEs are stronger surfactants. If this is the case, learning more about RMEs and how to produce them could play a very important role in formulating better fire recovery strategies and also developing more effective surfactants to clean oil spills or heavy metal contaminations.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for offering this scholarship to undergraduates like me who have a great passion for research and science. I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to do research in my field of interest so early on in my academic and professional career. This scholarship has encouraged me to work harder and has given me more confidence in myself and my abilities.
Profile image of Sara Koupaei
Major: Microbial biology
Mentor: Matthew Traxler
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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