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Matt Wecker


Photo of Matt Wecker
(303) 384-6381
At NREL Since: 

Matt Wecker is currently working with Maria Ghirardi on the optimization of hydrogenases and production of hydrogen using the photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus. He is the founder of GeneBiologics, a company dedicated to the optimization of enzymes involved in green energy production.

Prior to working in the area of hydrogen production from microbes, Dr. Wecker discovered heme-binding O2-sensor protein homologs in C. reinhardtii. Previous to this, he worked on the in vitro evolution of RNA for the selection of catalytic RNAs capable of creating drug leads; this work was carried out at two Denver-area companies, Invenux, Inc., and NeXstar Pharmaceuticals. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he also worked on the in vitro RNA evolution of aptamers. He holds an M.S. from Cornell University, where he researched the production of acetaldehyde from bacteria. The idea was to short-sheet the ethanol fermentation pathway to produce acetaldehyde instead of ethanol; pure acetaldehyde boils at room temperature and wouldn't require an expensive distillation step for collection. Dr. Wecker's expertise includes in vitro evolution of RNA aptamers and RNA enzymes, RNA biosynthesis and modification, bioconjugation of linkers and activated chemical groups to RNA, and DNA and RNA structural analysis.

Selected Publications 

  1. Wecker, M., Ghirardi, M.L., Seibert, M., and Posewitz, M.C. (2008). "Heme Coordination by Novel FixL Homologs in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii: Implications for Sensing Anoxia." Submitted
  2. Wecker, M., Smith, D., and Gold, L. (1996). "In vitro selection of a novel catalytic RNA: Characterization of a sulfur alkylation reaction and interaction with a small peptide." RNA (2); pp. 982-994.
  3. Nieuwlandt, D., Wecker, M., and Gold, L. (1995). "In vitro selection of RNA ligands to substance P." Biochem. (34); pp. 5651-5659.
  4. Wecker, M., and Zall, R.R. (1987). "Fermentation strategies: Acetaldehyde or ethanol?." Process Biochem. pp. 135-138.
  5. Wecker, M., and Zall, R.R. (1987). "The production of acetaldehyde using Zymomonas mobilis." Appl. Envir. Microbiol. (53); pp. 2815-2820.