Costas Maranas Discusses Latest Work in Metabolic Engineering

To launch a new series of interviews with authors in biological and chemical engineering, we are pleased to share a conversation we recently had with Costas D. Maranas. Costas is a Donald B. Broughton Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. He is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, and in 2002, he was awarded the AIChE Allan P. Colburn Award for Excellence in Publications by a Young Member of the Institute.

In this interview, AIChE’s Steve Smith discusses Costas’s latest book, Optimization Methods in Metabolic Networks, which was co-authored by Ali R. Zomorrodi. The volume explores tools and solutions for mathematical optimization concepts and representations for the curation, analysis, and redesign of metabolic networks. It aims to apply the language and tools of mathematical programming to describe and solve common tasks such as calculation of product yield, gene essentiality prediction, identification of network gaps in the model, resolution of discrepancies with experimental data, and identification of network modifications that increase product yield.

Costas discusses what inspired the work, how students might apply knowledge gained from the book, and areas of metabolic engineering that non-specialized engineers might need to deal with.