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Diane Baronas-Lowell

Dr. Diane Baronas-Lowell
  • Associate Scientist
  • FAU Biological Sciences
  • 561-297-4948 (Boca)
  • Boca Raton - SC, 261


  • Ph.D., Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1990

Research Interests

  • Antibiotic Discovery
  • Citizen Science
  • Non-STEM Undergraduate Research Experiences
  • Molecular Biology Techniques

Research Description

Over the last two years, more than 600 undergraduates with non-STEM majors have engaged in genuine antibiotic discovery research at FAU. Tiny Earth launched in 2018 (previously known as The Small World Initiative), started as a Yale University course, and grew into a large student-sourcing project. These efforts started with undergraduates at 30 colleges in the US in 2013-2014 and have grown to over 275 schools (including high schools) in fourteen countries in 2018. FAU Life Science Lab (RI:BSC 1005L) students dig up their own soil, isolate bacteria and test these bacteria for antibiotic activity against safe relatives of the deadly ESKAPE pathogens. They characterize their antibiotic-producing bacteria with classic microbiology tests, isolate and amplify their DNA and send it to Yale to be sequenced. The students perform basic bioinformatics to determine the bacterial genus. Students in the microbiology teaching labs, as well as, in biology and chemistry research labs are expanding the characterization of these antibiotic-producing bacteria with multiple studies on-going. Additionally, newly-discovered antibiotic-producing bacteria continue to be found every semester. Our work is illustrating the diversity of microbes in South Florida soil, contributing data to the Tiny Earth soil database and finding new antibiotic-producing bacteria.

Recent Publications

  • Sur, A., Kesaraju, S., Prentice, H., Kasirajan, A., Baronas-Lowell, D., Zhu, D., Hinton, D.R., Blanks, J. and Weissbach, H. (2014). Pharmacological protection of retinal pigmented epithelial cells by sulindac involves PPARα. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111(47):16754-16759.
  • Zhang, X.-H., Baronas-Lowell, D. and Weissbach, H. (2012). Unique metabolic roles of methionine both free and in proteins. Current Topics in Peptide and Protein Research 12:1-15.
  • Rezler, E.M., Khan, D.R., Lauer-Fields, J.L., Cudic, M., Baronas-Lowell, D. and Fields, G.B. (2007). Targeted drug delivery utilizing protein-like molecular architecture. J Amer Chem Soc 129 (16):4961-4972.
  • Baronas-Lowell, D., Lauer-Fields, J.L., Al-Ghoul, M. and Fields, G.B. (2007). Proteolytic profiling of the extracellular matrix degradome. Meth Mol Biol 386:167-202.

Scholarly Acitivites

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