Susan S. Golden

University of California, San Diego


Election Year: 2010
Primary Section: 25, Plant Biology
Secondary Section: 44, Microbial Biology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My research program investigates photosynthetic metabolism and the mechanism of a biological circadian clock using a cyanobacterial model organism. In the 1980s I developed genetic tools for the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus that enabled my group to address how the genes involved in photosynthesis are regulated by light. In the early 1990s we applied these genetic methods in S. elongatus to discover the molecular components of the only known bacterial circadian (24-h) biological clock. With our collaborators we identified three novel proteins that form a 24-h biochemical oscillation that underpins the cyanobacterial circadian clock. We contributed genetic, biochemical, and structural insights into the function of the clock. My lab is now focused on how the oscillator generates circadian rhythms of gene expression and cell division, and how day/night cues are interpreted by the cell to synchronize the internal clock with the external solar day. Cyanobacteria and other microalgae are currently of interest for their potential for the sustainable production of biofuels and industrial feedstocks. We are now applying our insights into the genetics and metabolism of S. elongatus to facilitate the exploitation of cyanobacteria for biotechnological goals.

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