(4be) Advanced Biomanufacturing With Genome Engineering and Synthetic Biology | AIChE

(4be) Advanced Biomanufacturing With Genome Engineering and Synthetic Biology


Hong, S. H. - Presenter, Northwestern University

Rapid population growth, energy security, and climate change concerns have intensified the need for sustainable, low-cost production of energy, chemicals, and advanced materials. Industrial biotechnology, or the use of bacterial microorganisms, is one of the most attractive approaches for addressing this need, particularly when large-scale chemical synthesis is untenable. Unfortunately, engineering whole-cell microorganisms remains costly, risky, and slow. Major challenges are product toxicity to the host and low production yields and volumetric productivities. My faculty research program seeks to address these challenges by using interdisciplinary approaches to analyze, understand and control cellular processes on a molecular and systems level for advanced biomanufacturing. Specifically, I am particularly interested in three areas: i) biofilm-based biofuel production using genetically engineered biofilms, ii) microbial electrosynthesis using engineered electron-accepting microorganisms to convert electricity to biochemicals, and iii) cell-free metabolic engineering using optimized cell extracts for biopolymer production. I will apply a unique and diverse set of skills in protein engineering, genome engineering, metabolic engineering, and cell-free synthetic biology for the biosynthesis of a wide variety of important materials, chemicals, and fuels. My work will allow me to build a leading research program for compelling applications in medicine, basic science and quantitative applied biotechnology.