Applied and Environmental Microbiology

Georgia State University


The Laboratories of:

Dr. George E. Pierce

Dr. Sidney A. Crow Jr.

The Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM) group strives to find unique solutions to agricultural and health challenges. We focus predominantly on the application of induced Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253 – a naturally occurring, safe, soil-based organism with a robust inducible enzyme profile. This organism has patented applications of delayed fruit ripening, inhibition of mold growth, and the production of cancer therapeutic enzymes. Our goal is to apply our understanding of these processes, which we have developed, to create commercially relevant products that meet industrial global concerns. Through this focus, our group is also invested in the training of the next generation of applied microbiologists who will be the future leaders in biotech.

Current Research Projects:

  • Production of asparaginase via the use of induced Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253.
  • Non-contact delayed fruit ripening of climateric fruit in post-harvest applications via the use of induced Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253.
  • Non-contact inhibition of agricultural pathogens via the use of induced Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253.
  • Production of bio-acrylamide from acrylonitrile via the use of induced Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253.

Recent News and Achievements

Congrats, Ilona!

Everyone at Pierce lab would like to congratulate Ilona Golynker on her new position as a Research Associate at Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai! Ilona graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience from Georgia State University in Spring 2020 before accepting her current position. Now, at tenOever lab, she is analyzing existing therapeutics that can be utilized to reduce and ameliorate the morbidity of COVID-19. We wish her the best with her career moving forward!

Spring 2020 Awards

We would like to congratulate two of our PhD students for being recognized by Georgia State University’s Biology Department!

Brianna (Galbreath) Chilton received the Steven Kudravi Memorial Award for excellence in teaching!

Nosa Amadasun received the Donald Ahearn Endowed Fellowship in Applied and Environmental Microbiology! We take pride in last year’s recipient as well– our own Maurice De La Croix!

Both have shown an arduous passion for their respective projects and we are fortunate to have them as mentors in the lab!

Nosa Amadasun’s Defense

We here at Pierce lab would like to congratulate Nosa on a successful dissertation defense! His presentation titled “Preliminary Report on Protein Preparations Exhibiting Both Asparaginase and Glutaminase Activity Purified from Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253” discussed the methods utilized for the induction, purification and characterization of L-asparaginase obtained from R. rhodochrous during his time at Georgia State University. L-asparaginase presents a substantial portion of treatment necessary for individuals diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), with survival rates increasing to 90% since the introduction of L-asparaginase as part of the treatment regimen in the 1960s. Nosa’s work with Rhodococcus rhodochrous DAP 96253 aims to circumvent treatment-limiting side effects associated with currently approved L-asparaginases experienced by up to 30% of treated patients. For the rest of his time with us, Nosa will be investigating post purification modifications to the protein, attempting to improve their asparaginase activity while completely eradicating their glutaminase activity and determining the efficacy of the modified protein utilizing specific cancer expressing cell lines.