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Michelle Chang

Michelle Chang
Program
Beckman Young Investigators

Award Year
2008

Institution
University of California Berkeley

Email:
mcchang@berkeley.edu

Website:
http://www.cchem.berkeely.edu/mccgrp

Research Title:
Synthetic Biology Approaches to Sustainable Energy Production

Abstract:
The rise in global energy usage, together with the depletion of fossil fuel reserve~ has highlighted the importance of developing technologies to harness new and renewable energy sources . In addition to sustainability, climate change is another major issue that has driven the search for clean, carbon-neutral fuels . One major resource is the energy found in plant biomass, which can be tapped and transformed into liquid fuels microbial metabolism for use as gasoline and diesel substitutes . Current approaches on the conversion of sugars to ethanol, a process that does not fully utilize the main constituent of biomass, which are the structural polymers of plants. In this proposal we seek to draw inspiration from nature and design new biochemical pathways using synthetic biology to convert lignin, a complex polyaromatic substrate, into next-generation biofuels.

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