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Laboratory for Cellular Metabolism and Engineering Home of the Gang Lab

Some of our favorite research organisms


Hemp (Cannabis sativa is a versatile plant that is used for medicine, food and construction/fiber-based applications. It is a significant phytoremediation plant and does much to improve soil quality and agricultural systems.

Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a culinary herb with medicinal benefits. We are interested in related Ocimum species as well.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a major culinary spice and medicinal plant.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a major culinary spice (think curry) and medicinal plant.

Diviners sage (Salvia divinorum) is a medicinal plant that has psychoactive/hallucinogenic properties and its major active constituent, Salvinorin A, is being utilized to develop better treatments for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.

Common reed (Phragmites australis) is a major weedy grass worldwide. We study other rhizomatous weedy grasses as well.

Rice (Oryza sativa) is the second most important crop worldwide (number of people fed, value). We also work on the related weedy species red rice (Oryza longistaminata)

Common Beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are a major food staple around the world, novel trait attributes make development of new bean cultivars an exciting area today

Cannabis (Cannabis sativa) has two major forms, hemp and marijuana (legal term still in the USA, although most now refer to the psychoactive versions of the species as psychoactive cannabis or simply cannabis now for many reasons). Hemp is now a legal commodity in the USA, while psychoactive cannabis (delta-9-THC levels over 0.3%) is still a Schedule C1 controlled substance.

Unicellular algae (e.g., Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Chlorella sorokiniana) are single-celled algae that are model organisms for bioenergy research.


Asian citrus psyllid (ACP, Diaphorina citri) is a major citrus pest that is spreading Huanglongbing (HLB, also called citrus greening disease) worldwide.

Potato/tomato psyllid (PoP, Bactericera cockerelli) is a pest of potatoes and tomato that is spreading zebra chip and vein greening diseases.

We are investigating metabolism in human breast cancer cells with our collaborator at the WSU Medical School, Weimin Li, and previously published work on human colon cancer metabolism with collaborators from WSU’s Chemistry Dept. and School of Molecular Biosciences.

We have investigated changes in protein and metabolite levels in various mouse tissues (brain, liver, heart, uterus, etc.)


We have worked for years with collaborators investigating metabolism of microbes, from fungi to bacteria.

Liberibacter species (“Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus” and “Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum”) are the presumed causes of HLB and zebra chip disease.

Actinobacteria and Bacillus sp. from marine environments are a largely untapped resource for discovery of novel bioactive compounds.