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Our research group harnesses unique metabolic pathways of photosynthetic marine organisms in engineered systems for applications in biofuels, bio-products, environmental remediation, and nanotechnology. Current projects focus on diatom microalgae and marine macroalgae. Diatoms are single-celled algae which make microscopic cell walls of nanostructured biosilica. These cell walls have optical properties similar to photonic crystals. We are using diatom cells to biologically fabricate photo-luminescent and semiconducting materials of Si-Ge oxide and Si-Ti oxide nanocomposites with hierarchical structure, and exploring their applications for biosensing, electroluminescent thin films, and solar energy.
Certain diatoms also make lipids for biofuels, as well as unique N-acetyl glucosamine biopolymer nanofibers which are extruded from the cell. These nanofibers have many biomedical and nutraceutical applications. We are studying the sustainable production of biofuels and biopolymer nanofibers in photo-bioreactor systems through controlled delivery of carbon dioxide, light, and inorganic nutrients.
Representative publications can be found in the attached CV.
Program Director, National Science Foundation, 2014-2016
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Michigan State University
B.S., Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan