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

Nikolau Research Group

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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.


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:

News & Updates

Nikolau presents at international lipids symposium

June 13, 2016; updated June 15, 2016

Basil Nikolau was an invited speaker at the International Symposium on Lipids Science and Health held May 26-27 at the Oil Crops Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science (CAAS) in Wuhan, China.

His presentation addressed recent advances in identification and characterization of plant cell biocatalytic components that comprise fatty acid synthase, and illustrated how these catalytic machines can be bioengineered to impact global sources of dietary fats and oils and improve human health.

The meeting culminated in the signing of a statement of multi-lateral international collaboration among fourteen institutions in six countries, including Iowa State University, focusing on joint research and capacity building. Collaborative efforts will encompass joint application for research support, and technology transfer, encouragement of joint research activities in lipid science, exchange of scientific staff and students, exchange of information and materials, and co-organization of academic conferences.

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Undergraduate wins award
May 10, 2016
Kudos to Hannah Loghry, a Nikolau Group undergraduate researcher, who won the Science with Practice (SWP) Poster Award for "Outstanding Performance in the SWP Poster Presentation." Great job, Hannah!

BBMB Department awards announced
April 22, 2016
Congratulations to Nikolau group members selected by the BBMB Awards and Scholarship Committee:

Good job, Liza, Drew and Michael!

News & Updates Archives