1500 Gortner Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55108
- Ph.D. - Chemistry and Biochemistry, Arizona State University. 2003
- B.S. - Chemistry, Utah State University. 1993
Areas of Interest
Biofuels and high value chemicals from bacteria and algae, Biofertilizers for aquaculture and nitrogen based agriculture
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and Director of Graduate Studies of the Microbial Engineering (MicE) and Bioproducts and Biosystems, Science Engineering and Management (BBSEM) graduate programs at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. I received my Bachelor of Science from Utah State University in Professional Chemistry in 1993, during which time I did two years of undergraduate research at the Utah Water Research Laboratory, working on projects in bioremediation of hazardous waste sites. I spent six years in industry working in the medical device industry for a company in Ogden, Utah, which makes dialysis equipment and products. While in industry, my job experience included a number of years as an analytical chemist, before spending several years doing research and development in polymer chemistry and process engineering. My various titles included technician, senior technician, research chemist, and finally the fiber laboratory supervisor. I returned for my graduate studies in 1999 and received my Doctorate from Arizona State University in 2003, where I took part in an interdisciplinary program in biophotonics. I did my graduate work in the laboratory of Professor Wilson Francisco. My thesis focused the study of various metalloproteins. My choice to leave industry and return to school was related to my interest in the biological sciences. I developed skills in molecular biology, microbiology, genome engineering and protein chemistry. I did my post-doctoral work as a USDA fellow in the laboratory of Professor Lance Seefeldt in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Utah State University. I became a Research Assistant Professor at Utah State University in 2006 and was the Science Operations Manager for the Utah State University Energy Lab in 2009, before starting my own laboratory at the University of Minnesota. I currently teach courses, manage a laboratory of graduate and undergraduate students and consult part-time for several companies and organizations.
- BBE3013: Engineering Principles of Molecular and Cellular Processes
- ESPM 3605/5605: Recycling: Extending Raw Materials
- BBE8001/BBE8002: Seminar
- BBE4608/5608: Environmental and Industrial Microbiology
Our laboratory is currently focused on four primary research areas. The first focus involves the study of biosynthetic pathways for commodity fuels and high-value products from select bacteria and algae. Our second focus is on bacteria and cyanobacteria capable of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and the role these species play in the biological nitrogen cycle. Our third focus is related to the production of extracellular fermentable sugars from phototrophs (algae) and our final focus is related to organisms that are capable of biodegrading commodity plastics and other polymers in the environment.
Members of our laboratory must have a strong biology and biochemistry background with an interest in applied and basic science. In recent years, we have been constructing various tools for genetic approaches in model bacteria, and are interested in biosynthetic approaches to produce compounds that could replace current fuels or have value as specialty chemicals.
Specific Research Projects
- Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) for sustainable solutions to agriculture and aquaculture
- Extracellular sugar production by model green algae
- Wax ester production in the model bacterium Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8
- Triacylglyceride (TAG) production from alkaline diatoms
- Directed evolution approaches for novel protein design and pathway engineering
- Identification of microbes capable of biodegrading polyethylene and polystyrene
- 44. Barney BM, “Aerobic nitrogen-fixing bacteria for hydrogen and ammonium production: current state and perspectives” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 104, pages 1383-1399 (2020)
- 43. Knutson, CM, Plunkett, MH, Liming, RA, Barney BM, “Efforts toward optimization of aerobic biohydrogen reveal details of secondary regulation of biological nitrogen fixation by nitrogenous compounds in Azotobacter vinelandii” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 102, pages 10315-10325 (2018)
- 42. Knutson, CM, McLaughlin, EM, Barney BM, “Effect of temperature control on green algae grown under continuous culture” Algal Research, 35, pages 301-308 (2018)
- 41. Khan N, Maezato Y, McClure RS, Brislawn CG, Mobberly JM, Isern N, Chrisler WB, Markillie LM, Barney BM, Song HS, Nelson WC, Bernstein HC, “Phenotypic responses to interspecies competition and commensalism in a naturally-derived microbial co-culture” Scientific Reports, 8:297 (2018).
- 40. Arriola MB, Velmurugan N, Zhang Y, Plunkett MH, Hondzo H, Barney BM, “Genome sequences of Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1602 and Micractinium conductrix SAG 241.80: implications to maltose excretion by a green alga” The Plant Journal, 93, pages 566-586 (2018).
- 39. Ledbetter RN, Garcia Costas AM, Lubner CE, Multer DW, Tokmina-Lukaszewska M, Artz JH, Patterson A, Magnuson TS, Jay ZJ, Duan HD, Miller J, Plunkett MH, Hoben JP, Barney BM, Carlson RP, Miller AF, Bothner B., King PW, Peters JW, Seefeldt LC, “The Electron Bifurcating FixABCX Protein Complex from Azotobacter vinelandii: Generation of Low-Potential Reducing Equivalents for Nitrogenase Catalysis” Biochemistry, 56, pages 4177-4190 (2017).
- 38. Barney BM, Plunkett MH, Natarajan V, Mus F, Knutson CM, Peters JW. “Transcriptional Analysis of an Ammonium-Excreting strain of Azotobacter vinelandii Deregulated for Nitrogen Fixation” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83, pii: e01534-17 (2017)
- 37. Bertram JH, Mulliner KM, Shi K, Plunkett MH, Nixon P, Serratore NA, Douglas CJ, Aihara H, Barney BM. “Characterization of five fatty aldehyde dehydrogenase enzymes from Marinobacter and Acinetobacter: structural insights into the aldehyde binding pocket” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 83, pii: e00018-17 (2017)
- 36. Eberhart LJ, Knutson CM, Barney BM. “A methodology for markerless genetic modifications in Azotobacter vinelandii” Journal of Applied Microbiology, 120, pages 1595–604 (2016)
- 35. Barney BM, Ohlert JM, Timler JG, Lijewski AM, “Altering small and medium alcohol selectivity in the wax ester synthase” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 99, pages 9675-9684 (2015).
- 34. Barney BM, Eberhart LJ, Ohlert JM, Knutson CM, Plunkett MH, “Gene Deletions Resulting in Increased Nitrogen Release by Azotobacter vinelandii: Application of a Novel Nitrogen Biosensor” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81, pages 4316-28 (2015).
- 33. Ehler ED, Barney BM, Higgins PD, Dusenbery K, “Patient specific 3D printed phantom for IMRT quality assurance” Physics in Medicine and Biology, 59, pages 5763-5773 (2014).
- 32. Lenneman EM, Barney BM, “Draft Genome Sequence of the Algae Degrading Bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila AD9 and Pseudomonas pseudoalcaligenes AD6” Genome Announcements, 2, e00709-14 (2014).
- 31. Lenneman EM, Wang P, Barney BM, “Potential Application of Algicidal Bacteria for Improved Lipid Recovery with Specific Algae” FEMS Microbiology Letters, 354, pages 102-110 (2014).
- 30. Barney BM, “Metabolic Engineering: The Sweet Smell of Biosynthesis” Nature Chemical Biology, 10, pages 246-247 (2014).
- 29. Villa JA, Ray EE, Barney BM, “Azotobacter vinelandii Siderophore can Provide Nitrogen to Support the Culture of the Green Algae Neochloris oleoabundans and Scenedesmus sp. BA032″ FEMS Microbiology Letters, 351, pages 70-77 (2014).
- 28. Lenneman EM, Ohlert JM, Palani NP, Barney BM, “Fatty Alcohols for Wax Esters in Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8: Two Optional Routes in the Wax Ester Biosynthesis Pathway” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79, pages 7055-7062 (2013).
- 27. Wei J, Timler JG, Knutson CM, Barney BM, “Branched-chain 2-keto acid decarboxylases derived from Psychrobacter” FEMS Microbiology Letters, 346, pages 105-112 (2013).
- 26. Barney BM, Mann RL, Ohlert JM, “Identification of a residue affecting fatty alcohol selectivity in wax ester synthase” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 79, pages 396-399 (2013).
- 25. Barney BM, Wahlen BD, Garner E, Wei J, Seefeldt LC, “Differences in substrate specificities of five bacterial wax ester synthases” Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78, pages 5734-5745 (2012).
- 24. George SJ, Barney BM, Mitra D, Igarashi RY, Guo Y, Dean DR, Cramer SP, Seefeldt LC, “EXAFS and NRVS Reveal a Conformational Distortion of the FeMo-cofactor in the MoFe Nitrogenase Propargyl Alcohol Complex” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 112, pages 85-92 (2012).
- 23. Lukoyanov D, Yang ZY, Barney BM, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, Hoffman BM, “Unification of Reaction Pathway and Kinetic Scheme for N2 reduction Catalyzed by Nitrogenase” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, pages 5583-5587 (2012).
- 22. Willis RM, Wahlen BD, Seefeldt LC, Barney BM, “Characterization of a Fatty Acyl-CoA Reductase from Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8: A Bacterial Enzyme Catalyzing the Reduction of Fatty Acyl-CoA to Fatty Alcohol” Biochemistry, 50, pages 10550-10558 (2011).
- 21. Doan PE, Telser J, Barney BM, Igarashi RY, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, Hoffman BM, “57Fe Endor Spectroscopy and ‘Electron Inventory’ Analysis of the Nitrogenase E4 Intermediate Suggest the Metal-Ion Core of FeMo-Cofactor Cycles Through Only One Redox Couple” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, pages 17329-17340 (2011).
- 20. Lukoyanov D, Dikanov SA, Yang ZY, Barney BM, Samoilova RI, Narasimhulu KV, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, Hoffman BM, “ENDOR/HYSCORE studies of the common intermediate trapped during nitrogenase reduction of N2H2, CH3N2H, and N2H4 support an alternating reaction pathway for N2 reduction” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, pages 11655-11664 (2011).
- 19. Danyal K, Inglet BS, Vincent KA, Barney BM, Hoffman BM, Armstrong FA, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “Uncoupling Nitrogenase: catalytic reduction of hydrazine to ammonia by the MoFe protein in the absence of Fe protein-ATP” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 133, pages 13197-13199 (2010).
- 18. Sarma R, Barney BM, Keable S, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, Peters JW, “Insights into substrate binding at FeMo-cofactor in nitrogenase from the alpha-70Ile MoFe protein variant” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 104, pages 385-389 (2010).
- 17. Barney BM, Lukoyanov D, Igarashi RY, Laryukhin M, Yang TC, Dean DR, Hoffman BM, Seefeldt LC, “Trapping an intermediate of dinitrogen (N2) reduction on nitrogenase” Biochemistry, 48, pages 9094-9102 (2009).
- 16. Barney BM, Yurth MG, Dos Santos PC, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “A substrate channel in the nitrogenase MoFe protein” Journal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry, 14, pages 1015-1022 (2009).
- 15. Wahlen BD, Oswald WS, Seefeldt LC, Barney BM, “Purification, characterization, and potential bacterial wax production role of an NADPH-dependent fatty aldehyde reductase from Marinobacter aquaeolei VT8″ Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75, pages 2758-2764 (2009).
- 14. Sarma R, Barney BM, Hamilton TL, Jones A, Seefeldt LC, Peters JW, “Crystal structure of the L protein of Rhodobacter sphaeroides light-independent protochlorophyllide reductase with MgADP bound: a homologue of the nitrogenase Fe protein” Biochemistry, 47, pages 13004-13015 (2008).
- 13. Wahlen BD, Barney BM, Seefeldt LC, “Synthesis of Biodiesel from Fixed Feedstocks and Longer Chain Alcohols Using an Acid Catalyzed Method” Energy and Fuels, 22, pages 4223-4228 (2008)
- 12. Dos Santos PC, Mayer SM, Barney BM, Seefeldt LC, Dean DR, “Alkyne substrate interaction within the nitrogenase MoFe protein” Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, 101, pages 1642-1648 (2007).
- 11. Barney BM, McClead J, Lukoyanov D, Laryukhin M, Yang TC, Dean DR, Hoffman BM, Seefeldt LC, “Diazene (HN=NH) is a substrate for nitrogenase: insights into the pathway of N2 reduction” Biochemistry, 46, pages 6784-6794 (2007).
- 10. Lukoyanov D, Barney BM, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, Hoffman BM, Inaugural Article: “Connecting nitrogenase intermediates with the kinetic scheme for N2 reduction by a relaxation protocol and identification of the N2 binding state” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104, pages 1451-1455 (2007).
- 9. Barney BM, Lukoyanov D, Yang TC, Dean DR, Hoffman BM, Seefeldt LC, “A Methyldiazene (HN=N-CH3)- Derived Species Bound to the Nitrogenase Active-Site FeMo-cofactor: Implications for Mechanism” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103, pages 17113-17118 (2006).
- 8. Barney BM, Lee HI, Dos Santos PC, Hoffman BM, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “Breaking the N2 triple bond: Insights into the nitrogenase mechanism” Dalton Transactions, 21, pages 2277-2284 (2006).
- 7. Barney BM, “A Classification of Proteins Based on Minimal Modular Repeats: Lessons from Nature in Protein Design” Journal of Proteome Research, 5, pages 473-482 (2006).
- 6. Schaab MR, Barney BM, Francisco WA, “Kinetic and Spectroscopic Studies onthe Quercetin 2,3-Dioxygenase from Bacillus subtilis” Biochemistry, 45, pages 1009-1016 (2005).
- 5. Barney BM, Yang TC, Igarashi RY, Dos Santos PC, Laryukhin M, Lee HI, Hoffman BM, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “Intermediates trapped during nitrogenase reduction of N2, CH3-N=NH, and H2N-NH2” Journal of the American Chemical Society, 127, pages 14960-14961 (2005).
- 4. Barney BM, Laryukhin M, Igarashi RY, Lee HI, Dos Santos PC, Yang TC, Hoffman BM, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “Trapping a hydrazine reduction intermediate on the nitrogenase active site” Biochemistry, 44, pages 8030-8037 (2005).
- 3. Barney BM, Igarashi RY, Dos Santos PC, Dean DR, Seefeldt LC, “Substrate interaction at an iron-sulfur face of the FeMo-cofactor during nitrogenase catalysis” Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279, pages 53621-53624 (2004).
- 2. Barney BM, LoBrutto R, Francisco WA, “Characterization of a small metal binding protein from Nitrosomonas europaea” Biochemistry, 43, pages 11206-11213 (2004).
- 1. Barney BM, Schaab MR, LoBrutto R, Francisco WA, “Evidence for a new metal in a known active site: purification and characterization of an iron-containing quercetin 2,3-dioxygenase from Bacillus subtilis” Protein Expression and Purification, 35, pages 131-141 (2004).