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Dipti Nayak W-1848

Dr. Dipti Nayak, PhD

  • Award Recipient

Research Summary

Methane is the second-most abundant greenhouse gas with a near-term warming potential almost a hundred times that of carbon dioxide. Even sustained emissions of methane at the current rate could have a devastating impact; but methane levels are, in fact, rising at a rate much higher than previously predicted – resulting in an imminent threat to us and to our environment. There are no prevailing efforts to combat the emerging methane crisis because the sources and sinks of methane remain poorly characterized. An elusive group of organisms called ANME archaea (Anaerobic methane oxidizing archaea) consume about 75% of the methane produced annually and serve as a crucial methane sink. Practically nothing is known about how ANME archaea consume methane because they grow slowly and are difficult to cultivate under laboratory conditions. The proposed research aims to develop new tools and techniques that will enable insights into the mechanisms of methane consumption in ANME archaea. Ultimately, this research will have a transformative role in alleviating the methane crisis by enabling technological advances to sequester atmospheric methane and convert it into value-added commodities.

Research Title:

Reversing the methane cycle: decrypting microbial fingerprints and their global impact

Award Year: 2020
Institution at Time of Award: University of California, Berkeley