Association of Tianjin Graduation Education recently announced the recipients of “2022 Outstanding Master's and Doctoral Dissertation Award”. Dr. Dazhi Liu, a SPST alumnus, was honored with this prestigious award for his PhD dissertation under the supervision of Chair Professor Yan Zhang, titled “Identification and Characterization of Bacterial Enzymes Involved in Anaerobic Metabolism of Aromatic Amino Acids”.
In the dissertation, Dazhi reported his identification and characterization of previously unknown enzymes that are involved in the metabolism of aromatic amino acids in anaerobic microbes inhabiting in the guts of mammals. One of the metabolic products, skatole, is well known to be a malodorant of animal feces and an insect oviposition attractant related to insect-born human diseases. Skatole has also been reported to cause boar taint and animal lung diseases. Revealing the molecular basis of how skatole is produced is expected to have great impact on livestock industry and public health. The major scientific discovery of Dazhi’s thesis was published in a peer reviewed journal “Nature Communications” (2018) 9:4224 DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06627-x.