Research spotlight: Martin Schmidt
December 1, 2009 — Seth Stevenson
The first line of research in the Schmidt Laboratory concerns the mechanism of cell division in eukaryotes. Using baker’s yeast as a model organism, Dr. Schmidt is currently examining the roles of two cytoskeletal proteins in the formation and function of a contractile ring at the cell division site. One of these proteins, tropomyosin, serves to stabilize the contractile actin/myosin structure while the other, fimbrin, has a destabilizing effect. Dr. Schmidt constructed yeast strains with mutations in the tropomyosin/fimbrin genes and is currently characterizing the mutant phenotypes with Biochemical and Cell Biology techniques.
Dr. Schmidt’s second line of work is the characterization of the effects of Boric Acid on yeast and living beings in general. Boric Acid is an ancient, universal poison with a poorly characterized mechanism of action. Operating on an invaluable set of genome expression data, Dr. Schmidt is hypothesizing that exposure to Boric Acid causes a strong increase in metabolic activity which ultimately might lead to cell death by starvation. Dr. Schmidt is currently examining the impact of Boric Acid-induced hypermetabolism of glucose on the construction of other glucose-dependent structures, such as yeast cell walls.