EBI Personnel Directory Chang, Michelle
This program is exploring Zymomonas mobilis as a platform for production of second-generation fuels based on its unique ability to convert glucose to fuel at extremely high yields. The work is broken into two major components that are being pursued in parallel: engineering the pyruvate pool of Z. mobilis to generate acetyl-CoA building blocks for fuel synthesis using n-butanol as a model system, and constructing pathways for production of medium-chain fatty acids from acetyl-CoA.
This project is focused on discovering and characterizing new enzymes from soil bacteria that are involved in lignin degradation, thus improving understanding of the relationship between enzyme reactivity and changes in lignin structure. It is exploring the diversity of lignin degradation pathways found in soil samples, which often show high activity towards biomass depolymerization. The group is also focused on development of robust heterologous expression systems for lignin peroxidases, hoping to build a sequence database of bacterialligninases that can add to ongoing metagenomic approaches to gene discovery at the EBI.