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William G Alexander

Associate R&D Staff Scientist

Dr. William G. Alexander is an Associate R&D Staff Scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He received his Doctoral degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2011, where he studied the genetic mechanisms behind a sexual gene regulation pathway termed Meiotic Silencing by Unpaired DNA (MSUD) in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. He then took a postdoctoral position at the University of Wisconsin - Madison with Dr. Chris Todd Hittinger, where he developed genome editing tools and metabolic engineering schemes in Saccharomyces towards improving biofuel yields. Much of this work was a joint effort between the Laboratory of Genetics and the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC). In 2016, he accepted a position as a Senior Scientist at Muse Biotechnology, Inc. (now known as Inscripta, Inc.) where he led projects to develop automated genome editing systems in Saccharomyces. After that opportunity ended, he accepted a tenure track Assistant Professor position at his alma mater, Truman State University, then was recruited to ORNL in August 2021.

Dr. Alexander's research interests are broadly centered around the manipulation of living systems, either to learn more about how those systems function or as a means unto itself. Currently, he is working with members of the Guss and Eckert groups at ORNL, along with the multi-locus BOTTLE Consortium, to engineer thermophilic Parageobacillus species to degrade and "upcycle" PET plastic waste. He has also implemented nanopore-sequencing-based pipelines and protocols to expedite work in these and other non-model microbial systems. In the near future, he will be working to map the sequence-to-function relationships of central carbon metabolism genes in E. coli as well as developing parts and devices for Clostridium and Pseudomonas species.


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