University of West Florida
Professor Spain studies environmental biotechnology related to marine, freshwater and subsurface ecosystems to enable elimination of environmental pollution. The emphasis is on discovery and characterization of bacteria that degrade environmentally relevant chemicals. He uses a broad range of techniques from microbiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbial ecology, and bioinformatics to reveal the biodegradation mechanisms of organic compounds along with the ecology and evolution of the bacteria that catalyze the processes. Recent work has resulted in the discovery of novel enzymes that expand the understanding of metabolic diversity and capabilities of microorganisms that degrade nitroaromatic chemicals.