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Research

Biomanufacturing

We are developing bioprocessing routes to biologics and biofuels. With regard to the former, we are focused on scale-up of the biosynthesis of a non-animal sourced anticoagulant heparin and the scale-down optimization of upstream biomanufacturing processes. This includes monoclonal antibodies and other protein biologics, and lentiviral vectors for gene therapy applications. With regard to biofuels, we are designing electrochemical bioreactors for both enzymatic and fermentative biotransformations, as well as use of ionic liquids for enhanced bioconversion of lignocellulosic biomass.


Cell and Biomolecular Engineering

We are developing new biomolecular tools that can expand the repertoire of cellular control, accelerate drug discovery, control stem cell fate and function, and bridge experimental and artificial intelligence/machine learning approaches to improve in vitro-in vivo human drug toxicology predictions.


Antimicrobial Infrastructure

We are exploiting nature’s biocatalytic defense mechanisms to combat microbial and viral infections, overcome bacterial resistance mechanisms, and applying our approach to surfaces within common infrastructures, including hospitals, schools, food processing facilities, etc. Our approach involves two classes of enzymes; peptidoglycan hydrolases and oxidative biocatalysts. The former are lytic enzymes, which are extremely selective and do not require reagents apart from water to act. The oxidative enzymes, including oxidases, peroxidases and perhydrolases, are generally nonselective and require addition of reagents to catalyze their microbicidal activity. In both classes, these enzymes can be used in their soluble form or embedded into materials that can be used to coat surfaces and kill bacteria on contact.