Dianna Morris (previously Long)

Graduate Research Assistant and PhD candidate
Complex Biosystems
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Office: 209.1 Othmer Hall, UNL City Campus

Email: dmorris15@huskers.unl.edu

  • Using synthetic biology methods to increase succinic acid production by Actinobacillus succinogenes.
  • Constructing a metabolic model, using synthetic biology tools, and performing metabolic engineering for improved biodegradable plastic production by Paraburkholderia sacchari.

About Me:

Hi, welcome to my page!

I am a PhD candidate in the Complex Biosystems department at UNL. Prior to joining this program, I earned my BS in Biology from Truman State University and explored another area of interest, earning my MA in Psychology at UNL

I have been part of the Systems and Synthetic Biology laboratory, since August, 2018. I work to develop synthetic biology tools for non-model bacteria with the goal to metabolically engineer industrially useful strains for bioproduction. Bioproduction involves taking a living organism, providing it with a nutrient source, and allowing the living system to create a chemical of interest. For example, one of my projects involves feeding corn waste to a bacterium to produce a molecule used to create bioplastics. Bioproduction has potential to replace non-sustainable methods, such as those that require petroleum. My PhD work focusses on using non-model organisms that already possess interesting native characteristics and optimizing them for bioproduction through synthetic tool design and metabolic engineering. The metabolic engineering strategies are predicted from genome-scale computational models constructed by myself and other members of my lab. The combination of computational modeling and experimental implementation allows for a design-build-test cycle that ultimately results in organisms tailored to bio-produce important chemicals.  

My current projects involve 
i) Development and analysis of a genome-scale metabolic model for the analysis of Paraburkholderia sacchari
ii) Metabolic engineering of Paraburkholderia sacchari for bioproduction of bioplastics (PHB and PHBV); and
iii) Metabolic engineering of Actinobacillus succinogenes for bioproduction of succinic acid.

Outside of work, I like to spend my time exploring in nature, reading in my hammock, attempting DIY projects, and spending time with family and friends.

Connect with me via LinkedIn or  Google Scholar

Here is a list of my publications:

  1. Kiat, J.E., Long, D., and Belli, R.F., “Attentional responses on an auditory oddball predict false memory susceptibility“,  Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience 18:5, (2018).
  2. Bett, C., Grgac, K., Long, D., Karfunkle, M., Keire, D.A., Asher, D.M., and Gregori, L., “A heparin purification process removes spiked transmissible spongiform encephalopathy agent“, The AAPS Journal 19:3 (2017).
  3. Chen, K., Long, D.S., Lute, S.C., Levy, M.J., Brorson, K.A., and Kiere, D.A., ” Simple NMR methods for evaluating higher order structures of monoclonal antibody therapeutics with quinary structure“, Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, 128, (2016).
  4. Mans, D.J., Ye, H., Dunn, J.D., Kollinski, R.E., Long, D.S., … and Kiere, D.A., “Synthesis and detection of N-sulfonated oversulfated chondroitin sulfate in marketplace heparin“, Analytical Biochemistry, 490 (2015).