Our research is applying the principles of bioprocess engineering and applied biological sciences to address key challenges for production of transportation biofuels by utilization of renewable non-food lignocellulosic biomass. Our laboratory’s research has two main directions:
- overcoming the recalcitrant of cellulosic materials through biological conversion to release locked sugars and
- increasing energy conversion efficiency from sugars to biofuels though in vitro synthetic biology approaches.
With respect to Goal 1, special research topics include cellulose solvent- and organic solvent-based lignocellulose fractionation (COSLIF) technology; cellulase engineering involving directed enzyme evolution, high-throughput screening and selection, rational design, and enzyme reconstitution; modeling and mechanisms of solid cellulose biodegradation.
With respect to Goal 2, we are developing a novel synthetic biology method for production of hydrogen or electricity from renewable sugars. Our ultimate goal is to revolutionize transportation power train systems by using super density energy density sugar batteries.