Contributor: Dr Maureen Louw
Dr Maureen Louw completed her BSc (Hons) in Microbiology at Rhodes University in 1978 and a PhD in Microbiology at the University of Cape Town in 1994. Her MSc entitled “Studies on the improvement of lysine production in the genera Brevibacterium and Corynebacterium” was obtained while employed at the CSIR and formed the basis of a collaborative agreement with industry leading to subsequent industrialization of lysine in South Africa.
Research was also carried out in the fields of industrial and speciality enzyme production. This involved screening for suitable genetic material, cloning and sequencing genes of choice, plasmid stability studies and evaluating enzyme expression levels. Selected aspects of this research formed the basis of her PhD study, which included the interaction of a cloned signal-transduction operon on extra-cellular enzyme expression levels in Bacillus. She is currently employed as a Research Fellow at the CSIR Bio/Chemtek business unit.
The focus of research for her PhD has been broadened to include the screening and cloning of B. thuringiensis crystal toxins as well as research into various aspects of food biotechnology. This involves research into the molecular genetic systems of Lactobacillus, Micrococcus and Corynebacterium. In addition, bacterial metabolic by-products with applications in the food industry have been investigated, including trehalose, vitamin C, cholesterol oxidase and phytase.
Another focus area is DNA shuffling or directed evolution as well as in the development of a novel surface display system for Gram-positive micro-organisms. Research in these areas has led to contract research commitments from two major US based biotechnology companies.
Dr Maureen Louw, Tel: +27 12 841 2167, Fax: +27 12 841 2185