Breeanna Urbanowicz completed her PhD at Cornell University and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Georgia. She is faculty member of UGA’s Complex Carbohydrate Research Center and New Materials Institute and is a project leader in the US-DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation (CBI), the US-DOE Center of Plant and Microbial Carbohydrates, and the NSF-funded Center for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (CB2). Her core research is centered on the structure, biosynthesis and biological function of the plant cell wall, a cellular component that is integral to many facets of plant biology. Much of her recent research has focused on enzymes involved in plant glycopolymer biosynthesis and deconstruction to develop improved routes for plant biomass valorization. Her group develops and applies a combinatorial toolbox of robust, in vitro assays to study carbohydrate active enzymes, emphasizing the direct structural analysis of saccharide reaction products utilizing state-of-the-art techniques including MALDI-TOF MS, 1H-NMR and LC-ESI-MS. The tools and approaches developed are paving the path forward toward deeper analysis of glycopolymer synthesis and deconstruction pathways used by plants and other organisms, and are now being applied towards the development of new bio-based plastics and coatings.
University of Georgia