Fungal Biotechnology

Fungi have tremendous potential for the efficient conversion of cellulosic biomass into advanced biofuels. This is due to their ability to produce significant amounts of enzymes that can deconstruct polysaccharides to sugars and lignin to aromatic substrates. Oleaginous yeasts, able to utilize a variety of sugars and lignin derived molecules, are being engineered in a collaboration with the Fuels Synthesis Division to produce advanced biofuels and renewable chemicals. Researchers in the Fungal Biotechnology Group utilize a broad range of molecular biology skills and omics techniques to build more efficient tools for engineering the fungi and identifying genes important in more efficient enzyme production and higher flux to fuel precursors from diverse plant biomass substrates.


  • Develop and extend genetic engineering tools for fungi, including CRISPR, for deletion and insertion of individual genes, multiple copies of a desired gene, and stacking of different genetic traits for enhanced performance of the fungus.
  • Use our fungal integrative bioinformatics tools for analysis of genome resequencing, RNA-Seq, proteomics and ChIP-Seq data sets to understand the organisms behavior and identify genes for modification.
  • Integrate ‘omics data into developing metabolic models to identify additional gene targets for improving production of enzymes in A. niger and small molecule precursors in R. toruloides
  • Utilize our heterologous gene expression host, A. niger, to express glycoside hydrolases and ligninases for characterization of deconstruction cocktails
  • Increase titer, rate and yield of biofuel and bioproduct precursors from multiple substrates in R. toruloides via genetic and bioprocess engineering

Featured Publications