Nicholas W. Gillham

James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Zoology

Office: 
038 Bio Sci, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
0338
Phone: 
(919) 613-8160
Fax: 
(919) 613-8177

Research Interests: 

The objective of my collaborative research with Dr. John Boynton in the Department of Botany is to understand how nuclear and organelle genomes interact in controlling the biogenesis of chloroplasts and mitochondria. For many years we have used the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model experimental system. This alga has well developed chloroplast genetics. Mutations affecting either chloroplast or mitochondrial functions are viable under appropriate growth conditions. Our recent success in transforming the chloroplast genome of Chlamydomonas now allows us to determine the consequences in vivo of manipulating the chloroplast genes in vitro. Ongoing projects in our laboratory presently include: 1.Mutational analysis of the chloroplast psbA gene encoding the D-1 reaction center protein of photosystem II to examine the relationship between photoinhibition and photosynthetic performance. 2.Characterization of the interaction of proteins and rRNA domains of the small subunit of the chloroplast ribosome involved in translational efficiency and fidelity. 3.Translational regulation of chloroplast genes encoding photosynthetic and ribosomal proteins. 4.Molecular analysis of chloroplast recombination. 5.Genetic dissection of mechanisms responsible for the inheritance of chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes from opposite parents in crosses.

The objective of my collaborative research with Dr.
John
Boynton in the Department of Botany is to
understand
how nuclear and organelle genomes
interact in
controlling the biogenesis of chloroplasts
and
mitochondria. For many years we have used
the
unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas
reinhardtii as a
model experimental system. This alga has
well
developed chloroplast genetics. Mutations
affecting
either chloroplast or mitochondrial functions
are viable
under appropriate growth conditions. Our
recent
success in transforming the chloroplast
genome of
Chlamydomonas now allows us to
determine the
consequences in vivo of manipulating the
chloroplast
genes in vitro. Ongoing projects in our
laboratory
presently include: 1.Mutational analysis of the chloroplast
psbA gene
encoding the D-1 reaction center protein
of
photosystem II to examine the
relationship
between photoinhibition and
photosynthetic
performance.
2.Characterization of the interaction of
proteins and
rRNA domains of the small subunit of the
chloroplast ribosome involved in
translational
efficiency and fidelity.
3.Translational regulation of chloroplast
genes
encoding photosynthetic and ribosomal
proteins.
4.Molecular analysis of chloroplast
recombination.
5.Genetic dissection of mechanisms
responsible for
the inheritance of chloroplast and
mitochondrial
genomes from opposite parents in
crosses.

Education

  • Ph.D. 1962, Harvard University

  • M.A. 1955, Harvard University

  • B.A. 1954, Harvard University