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last update: January 27, 2004
Names Position Project Telephone
Valla, Svein Professor Group Leader 73598694
Valla has worked on a variety of projects involving molecular genetic analyses of bacteria. As an employee at a Technical University it has been a strategic goal in the research to cover certain basic problems relevant to applied biotechnology, but also to devote some of the time to more applied projects. Many problems in applied biotechnology require a multidisiplinary approach, and for this reason a tight and lasting coopearation has been established with the local SINTEF Group of Industrial Biotechnology. This group has access to an advanced fermentation unit which allows testing of genetically engineerd organisms under industrially relevant conditions. The collaboration on this has been crucial in most of the applied activities, and also has a broad potential for studies of more basic problems in microbial cell physiology. In many genetic engineering projects involving organisms other than those intensively studied in molecular biology it is a problem that adequate biological tools for recombinant DNA research are not available. This basic problem has been addressed over many years by studying replication and copy number control and by developing vectors based on the broad-host-range plasmid RK2 replicon. The vectors we have developed relatively recently are now widely in use in many groups around the world. The second major area of research is bacterial biopolymers, originally cellulose produced by Acetobacter xylinum, now alginate in Azotobacter vinelandii and Pseudomonas species. For more details on these activities and a smaller project on lactic acid bacteria the readers are referred to the specific project descriptions. An activity on streptomyces antibiotics was also initiated some years ago in collaboration with Dr. Trond Ellingsen at SINTEF Industrial Biotechnology. This research will from this year (2001) be headed by my collaborator Dr. Sergey Zotchev, who recently obtained a staff position at our Department. The future plans for my group will be to remain at the same basic strategy described here, but to move more in the direction of metabolic engineering and whole genome research. We strongly believe that such approaches can open new and exciting possibilities for most of our ongoing research activities.

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