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Dr. Metcalf's research program centers on the investigation of two unusual microbial metabolic processes with important biomedical, biotechnological and environmental ramifications. The first project examines the metabolism of reduced phosphorus compounds, with particular emphasis on phosphonic acid antibiotics. The long-term goal of this research is to elucidate the genes and metabolic pathways involved in the biosynthesis of phosphonic acid antibiotics and to explore the molecular diversity of natural products comprising this unusual class of bioactive compounds. He and his lab are also interested in the metabolic pathways involved in the catabolism of reduced phosphorus compounds. These studies are also expected to enhance our understanding of phosphorus metabolism, which is central to all living organisms. The second project involves the development and application of genetic techniques for analysis of the methane-producing Archaea. These studies impact a number of critically important to human problems including the production of alternative fuels from biological materials, waste treatment, and global warming.