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Chapter 6 : Diana Downs: A Path of Creativity, Persistence, and Rigorous Testing

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Abstract:

Diana Downs is a microbial physiologist who exemplifies the application of creativity and persistence in research by challenging paradigms through elegant incorporation of genetics and biochemistry to dissect metabolic pathways. Focusing on the robustness of one essential pathway, Diana’s research has unraveled metabolism while defining function of numerous enzymes. Her approach to research has shaped her unique mentoring style, which encourages students to challenge ideas and preconceptions, to temper excitement and curiosity with rigorous and creative experimentation, and to develop independence. Her approach has inspired many of her female students, including me, to be confident in our work, find our passion, and build successful careers in both academia and industry.

Citation: Martinez-Gomez N. 2018. Diana Downs: A Path of Creativity, Persistence, and Rigorous Testing, p 49-56. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch6
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Diagram made by students from the Downs laboratory giving an overview of Diana’s mentoring style.

Citation: Martinez-Gomez N. 2018. Diana Downs: A Path of Creativity, Persistence, and Rigorous Testing, p 49-56. In Whitaker R, Barton H (ed), Women in Microbiology. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819545.ch6
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References

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1. Downs DM,, Roth JR . 1987. A novel P22 prophage in Salmonella typhimurium. Genetics 117 : 367 380.
2. Downs DM,, Ernst DC . 2015. From microbiology to cancer biology: the Rid protein family prevents cellular damage caused by endogenously generated reactive nitrogen species. Mol Microbiol 96 : 211 219.
3. Koenigsknecht MJ,, Downs DM . 2010. Thiamine biosynthesis can be used to dissect metabolic integration. Trends Microbiol 18 : 240 247.
4. Downs DM . 2006. Understanding microbial metabolism. Annu Rev Microbiol 60 : 533 559.
5. Boyd JM,, Pierik AJ,, Netz DJ,, Lill R,, Downs DM . 2008. Bacterial ApbC can bind and effectively transfer iron-sulfur clusters. Biochemistry 47 : 8195 8202.
6. Skovran E,, Downs DM . 2003. Lack of the ApbC or ApbE protein results in a defect in Fe-S cluster metabolism in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. J Bacteriol 185 : 98 106.
7. Beck BJ,, Downs DM . 1998. The apbE gene encodes a lipoprotein involved in thiamine synthesis in Salmonella typhimurium. J Bacteriol 180 : 885 891.
8. Gralnick J,, Downs D . 2001. Protection from superoxide damage associated with an increased level of the YggX protein in Salmonella enterica. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 98 : 8030 8035.
9. Boyd JM,, Drevland RM,, Downs DM,, Graham DE . 2009. Archaeal ApbC/Nbp35 homologs function as iron-sulfur cluster carrier proteins. J Bacteriol 191 : 1490 1497.
10. Lambrecht JA,, Downs DM . 2013. Anthranilate phosphoribosyl transferase (TrpD) generates phosphoribosylamine for thiamine synthesis from enamines and phosphoribosyl pyrophosphate. ACS Chem Biol 8 : 242 248.
11. Flynn JM,, Christopherson MR,, Downs DM . 2013. Decreased coenzyme A levels in ridA mutant strains of Salmonella enterica result from inactivated serine hydroxymethyltransferase. Mol Microbiol 89 : 751 759.
12. Martinez-Gomez NC,, Downs DM . 2008. ThiC is an [Fe-S] cluster protein that requires AdoMet to generate the 4-amino-5-hydroxymethyl-2-methylpyrimidine moiety in thiamin synthesis. Biochemistry 47 : 9054 9056.
13. Martinez-Gomez NC,, Palmer LD,, Vivas E,, Roach PL,, Downs DM . 2011. The rhodanese domain of ThiI is both necessary and sufficient for synthesis of the thiazole moiety of thiamine in Salmonella enterica. J Bacteriol 193 : 4582 4587.
14. Bazurto JV,, Downs DM . 2016. Metabolic network structure and function in bacteria goes beyond conserved enzyme components. Microb Cell 3 : 260 262.

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