Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Nikolau Research Group

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Nikolau Group Collage


Dr. Nikolau is the Frances M. Craig Professor of Biochemistry at Iowa State University where he has taught and conducted research since 1988. He was awarded his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Massey University, New Zealand, in 1982, and conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Utah before joining the faculty of Iowa State University. Dr. Nikolau's research interests focus on the biochemistry and molecular biology of biotin and biotin-containing enzymes and the regulation of plant lipid metabolism.

Nikolau group research is conducted in the Molecular Biology Building and the 4th floor of the Biorenewables Research Laboratory (BRL 4th).


Faculty Membership:


The Nikolau Research Group

Research in the Nikolau Group is focused on the comprehensive understanding of metabolism. The lab is particularly focused on the discovery and characterization of novel metabolic processes, and the associated biocatalysts, utilizing expanding genomics resources as the starting point for these endeavors.

The past decade has seen an explosion of genomics datasets, which have revolutionized the way biological systems are defined. Yet the majority of the gene sequences that are deposited at databases are ambiguously annotated relative to biochemical functionality.  These gaps in knowledge therefore offer opportunities for novel discoveries that can be used to generate innovative metabolic solutions to societally defined issues.

These research activities are providing opportunities for research-based education and training of undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers.

News & Updates

Former REU student awarded prestigious NSF fellowship
April 2, 2014
Riley Brien, a former REU student with the Nikolau research group, has been awarded a fellowship by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 plus a $12,000 cost of education allowance, and are free to conduct their own graduate research at their U.S. institution of choice. Out of a field of 14,000 applicants, only 2,000 were selected as GRFP fellows. Congratulations, Riley!

Loomis Lecture & Mini Symposium April 25
March 24, 2014
Details have been announced for the 2014 Loomis Lecture and Mini Symposium Perspectives in Plant Biology be held April 25. Click here for speaker information, event schedule and free (required) registration.

New Professional Award to Marna Yandeau-Nelson
March 17, 2014
Marna Yandeau-Nelson, an associate scientist with the Nikolau research group, was presented this year's New Professional Award at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Spring Convocation held March 12. "Along with mentoring students, she has developed an independent research program to integrate biology and engineering, based on her expertise in maize genetics." Congratulations, Marna!

CALS Dean Wendy Wintersteen presenting award to Marna Yandeau-Nelson

Basil Nikolau with Marna Yandeau-Nelson

Welcome back, Geng!
March 11, 2014
The Nikolau Group is happy to welcome back Geng Ding,who has rejoined the research group after recently returning to the U.S. Geng and her family spent the past two years in Schwetzingen, Germany, where her husband was on overseas assignment with John Deere.

Shivani Garg featured in ISU Foundation Forward magazine
March 3, 2014
In its Winter 2014 issue of Forward magazine, the ISU Foundation features Shivani Garg in the cover article "Entrepreneurism," as well as in an accompanying online video. Shivani, co-founder of start-up company OmegaChea, is a postdoctoral research associate in the Nikolau research group.

News & Updates Archives