EBI Personnel Directory Jess, Phil
This program is developing new experimental systems to study cellulosome degradation of cellulosic biomass. This includes discovering new thermophilic organisms as enzyme sources and/or for biofuel production, protein engineering and kinetic modeling of improved cellulases, cellular engineering for improved solvent tolerance, and bioprocess engineering to optimize fermentation. The team seeks to understand the regulation of cellulosome composition, expression and assembly; probe activities of various cellulosomal components and assemblies; and identify dynamics of lignocellulosic degradation by using single molecule and atomic force microscopy.
A detailed knowledge of the 3D architecture of Type I and Type II plant cell walls is key for a rational design of plants that can be more easily broken down into fermentable sugars. In addition, a model of the cell wall based on experimental data will serve as the framework for understanding and further optimizing chemical and microbial deconstruction regimens. This project will use sophisticated sample preparation and imaging techniques to achieve its goals. In addition, this group’s expertise serves as a resource for other EBI investigators with imaging needs.