• The Metabolic Engineering Laboratory engineers microbes to produce advanced biofuels from cheap, renewable, and highly abundant substrates such as plant-derived cellulose.  
  • The Renewable Materials Laboratory builds high-performance biopolymer structures the way that nature does.

 

The focus of the Metabolic Engineering Laboratory is to engineer microbes to produce advanced biofuels (e.g., bio-butanol, hydrogen, alkanediols, etc.) from cheap, renewable, and highly abundant substrates such as plant-derived cellulose. We also have interests in producing value-added chemicals and are currently working on strategies to over-produce valuable amino acids using Escherichia coli K12. Our future directions include engineering microbes to sequester atmospheric CO2 and manipulate the photosynthetic process to result in the production of liquid biofuels. Our technologies will also allow us to engineer metabolic pathways to remediate toxic compounds and cure infectious diseases. The laboratory contains the following equipment and resources:

  • Bactron IV anaerobic chamber
  • VWR floor model 1575 incubator
  • Thermo MaxQ 4000 shaker incubators
  • Barnstead EASYPure RoDI type I water purification system
  • Bio-Rad Gel Doc XR Plus imager
  • Bio-Rad Gene Pulser Xcell microbial eletroporation system
  • Eppendorf 5804R benchtop centrifuge
  • Eppendorf 5424 microcentrifuge
  • Eppendorf PCR Mastercycler gradient
  • Standard DNA and protein gel electrophoresis equipment
  • Labconco CentriVap centrifugal concentrator
  • Genesys 10 Bio spectrophotometer
  • Eppendorf BioPhotometer Plus
  • Class II biological safety cabinet
  • Refrigerator, -35 C freezer, -80 C freezer
  • Molecular biology plasmids, enzymes, and kits
  • Equipment to be purchased: HPLC, GC, FTIR

The vision of the Renewable Materials Laboratory is to build high-performance biopolymer structures the way that nature does.  The research group seeks to logically deconstruct natural biopolymer assemblies to correlate molecular and microscopic structures and understand the key molecular features driving rational assembly.  The group seeks an interdisciplinary approach to discovery, dedicated to using renewable feedstocks for materials and foods for a sustainable and environmentally-sound future.  The laboratory is equipped with:

  • Thermo Nicolet 6700 Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer with Pike Technologies microMax microscope and transmission/attenuated total reflectance (ATR) capabilities
  • Bruker Senterra dispersive Raman spectrometer/confocal microscope
  • Bruker Innova atomic force microscope (AFM)
  • TA Instruments Q600 differential scanning calorimeter/thermogravimetric analyzer (DSC/TGA)
  • TA Instruments Q2000 DSC
  • TA Instruments Discovery Hybrid Rheometer DHR-3
  • Texture Technologies TA.HDPlus tensile tester
  • GE Aktapurifier 10 fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC)
  • Bio-Rad Mini PROTEAN electrophoresis cell
  • Haake RV-12 Rheometer
  • CW Brabender Prep-Center w/twin screw extruder, single screw extruder (3/4”, barrel L/D=25:1, 3:1 compression ratio screw), and internal mixing head
  • Retsch PM 400 planetary ball mill
  • Carver Autofour/30 Model 4394 30-ton compression molder
  • VWR VistaVision StereoZoom 82026-644 light optical microscope w/ Lumenera Infinity 1 camera
  • Sony HDR-CX405 video camera
  • Centrifuges, incubators, and hoods for sample preparation