Thomas Gorrell, PhD

Thomas Gorrell   Research Scientist
Adjunct Professor of Biology
Phone: (212) 346-1589

Educational Background
Ph.D. Michigan State University, E Lansing, M
B.Sc Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN

Courses Taught: (Pace University)
  • Biological World (Lecture, Lab, and Lab Coordinator)
  • Human Evolution
  • Human Biology and Disease
  • Biology in Contemporary Society
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (Lab)
  • General Biology
  • Genetics Lab
  • WWNF Commuter Institute for Biodiversity (Coordinator)
Courses Taught: (School of Visual Arts)
  • Biological Genetics
  • Design of Brains and Minds
  • Evolution
  • Food Explorations
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Human Disease
  • Light Color and Vision
  • Modern Science
  • Our Living Planet

I began my scientific career with the study of the fermentative metabolism of a photosynthetic bacterium. My interest was due to the inherent importance in the diverse roles of microbes in the environment and understanding the evolution of life. The endosymbiotic theory of the origin of eukaryotic organelles became more commonly accepted. However, much remains unknown about how this occurred and if it continues to occur. My studies of insects and parasitic protists have provided model organisms in diverse habitats. The methods used include: culture of bacteria and protozoa, microscopy, spectroscopy, protein purification, determination of structures of protein, the development of software to decipher the results, and the exploration between the transition of prokaryotic genes to eukaryotic genes (via in silico virtual methods). The underlying approach is to look at the interleaved activities of bacteria and protists.

Metabolism of nitrogen, iron and sulfur are of particular interest since they are frequently the limiting nutrient in food chains. Bacteria have a much greater metabolic diversity than protists or other eukaryotes.

The green roof to be constructed at Pace should provide a unique opportunity to explore these distinctions in a more controlled setting.

Current Projects:

  • Nitrogen metabolism of parasitic protozoa and soil microorganisms
  • Origins of the metabolism of iron and sulfur
  • Nutrient metabolism by microbes in green roofs in urban environments
  • Virtual PCR of prokaryotic genes in eukaryotes
  • Determination of protein structures from primary sequence data

Selected Publications

  • Production of ammonia by Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis. Kleydman Y, Yarlett N, Gorrell TE. Microbiology. 2004 May;150(Pt 5):1139-45.
  • Metabolic effects of a methylthioadenosine phosphorylase substrate analog on African trypanosomes.
    Bacchi CJ, Goldberg B, Rattendi D, Gorrell TE, Spiess AJ, Sufrin JR. Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Jan 1;57(1):89-96.
  • Hydrogenosomal succinate thiokinase in Tritrichomonas foetus and Trichomonas vaginalis.
    Jenkins TM, Gorrell TE, Müller M, Weitzman PD. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1991 Sep 16;179(2):892-6.