Pathway and Metabolic Engineering

Single-cell microbes, such as E. coli, P. putida and yeast, can be redesigned to be miniature chemical reactors that transform sugars and other carbon sources into biofuels and bioproducts. Researchers in the Pathway and Metabolic Engineering Group identify and introduce biosynthetic pathways from one organism into a host microbe, such as E. coli, P. putida and yeast, and then engineer metabolic pathways using genetic manipulation to optimize the production of target chemicals that the host microbe does not naturally generate. We also explore chemical conversion of biomass-derived molecules to bioproducts and biofuels using heterogeneous catalysis to expand the scope of products and our capability of biomass conversion.

The goal is to characterize and discover metabolic diversity in nature, and create highly efficient, microbial factories for green, cost-effective and sustainable production of advanced biofuels and other valuable bioproducts. Potential biofuels and bioproducts candidates include fatty acid esters, alcohols, aromatics and isoprenoids.

Projects

  • Discovery of novel hydrocarbon biochemistries for novel bioproducts
  • Optimization of hydrocarbon biosynthetic pathways in selected hosts
  • Engineering of isoprenoid pathway for production of biofuels and bioproducts
  • Multi-Omics guided metabolic engineering
  • Chemical conversion of biosynthetic precursors to valuable products
  • Discovery and characterization of novel toluene synthase (phenylacetate decarboxylase) from microbial community
  • Development and optimization of pathways for diesel-range methyl ketone biosynthesis

Featured Media

JBEI Scientists Unravel Omics Data Using Systems Biology-Based Workflow To Improve Biofuels Productivity

JBEI Invention Leads to More Efficient Biofuel Production for Industrial Application

JBEI Expert Harry Beller discusses the production of methyl ketones

JBEI featured on Chemical & Engineering News
Harry Beller, Director of Biofuels Pathways was one of the interviewees of Chemical & Engineering News cover story about JBEI.

Brent Shanks testifies to the Senate Agricultural Committee on rural development and energy programs

Featured Publications

Intellectual Property