Staff Scientist, Biological Nanostructures
Crysten Blaby earned her PhD in Microbiology and Cell Science in 2011 from the University of Florida, working with Valérie de Crécy-Lagard on using comparative genomics to predict gene function in bacteria and leveraging molecular biology and reverse genetics to test those hypotheses. From 2011 – 2015, she worked with Sabeeha Merchant at UCLA as a NIH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow expanding her experimental repertoire to include in vitro protein-based techniques, algae, and plants, while focusing on understanding the evolution and function of proteins involved in metal homeostasis. She began her independent research career at Brookhaven National Laboratory (2015) where she co-founded and led the Quantitative Plant Science Initiative (2017-2022). In 2022, she joined the Molecular Foundry as a staff scientist with a dual appointment at the Joint Genome Institute.
Crysten is fascinated by how biology has evolved to use proteins to catalyze chemical and structural transformations. Her curiosity finds an outlet in the discovery and characterization of function and molecular mechanisms: What is the function of each protein, how do those proteins function, and how can we re-engineer function? Within the vast expanse of molecular functionalities, Crysten’s research focuses on the discovery, characterization, and redesign of biomaterials and metal-trafficking pathways. She is also involved in advancing synthetic-biology-based strategies for developing algae as carbon-neutral chassis for biomaterial and biofuel synthesis.
Pasquini, M., Grosjean, N., Hixson, K. K., Nicora, C. D., Yee, E. F., Lipton, M., … & Blaby-Haas, C. E. (2022). Zng1 is a GTP-dependent zinc transferase needed for activation of methionine aminopeptidase. Cell Reports, 39(7), 110834. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110834
Associated Cell commentary and Nature News & Views: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.05.012 and https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-01988-2
Gallaher S, Craig R, Ganesan I, Purvine S, McCorkle SR, Grimwood J, Strenkert D, Davidi L, Roth MS, Jeffers TL, Lipton M, Niyogi KK, Schmutz J, Theg SM, Blaby-Haas CE, Merchant SS. (2021) Widespread polycistronic gene expression in green algae. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 118 (7) e2017714118. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2017714118
Foflonker F and Blaby-Haas CE. (2021) Co-locality to co-functionality: Eukaryotic gene neighborhoods as a resource for function discovery. Mol Biol Evol 38(2): 650-662.
Grosjean N and Blaby-Haas CE. (2020) Leveraging computational genomics to understand the molecular basis of metal homeostasis. Invited Tansley Review, New Phytol 228(5): 1472-1489.
Marckmann D, Trasnea P, Schimpf J, Winterstein C, Andrei A, Schmollinger S, Blaby-Haas CE, Friedrich T, Daldal F, Koch H. (2019) The cbb3-type cytochrome oxidase assembly factor CcoG is a widely distributed novel cupric reductase. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 116(42): 21166-21175.
Blaby-Haas CE and Merchant SS. (2019) Comparative and Functional Algal Genomics. Ann Rev Plant Biol 70: 605-638.
Blaby-Haas CE, Padilla-Benavides T, Stübe R, Argüello JM and Merchant SS. (2014) Evolution of a plant- specific copper chaperone family for chloroplast copper homeostasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111(50): E5480-E5487.