Allan Wang is an undergraduate student studying Chemical Engineering.
Student worked with Dr. Shishir P. S. Chundawat.
1: Please briefly describe your research. Cellulose can be broken down into glucose, which can then be fermented and eventually converted into bioethanol fuel. Cellulase is an enzyme that breaks down cellulose but does so slowly and inefficiently. Previous data generated from our lab has shown that negatively supercharging the enzyme decreases the non-productive binding of cellulase but can also reduce the enzyme’s activity. My summer research focused on an exo-cellulase CBM2a-Cel6B from a thermophilic actinomycete T. fusca and on characterizing different designs of the cellulase with various degrees of supercharging.
2: How did you come to be involved in this research? I had been looking for research around campus that combines biology and chemical engineering when I got an email from the TA of my Biological Foundations for Chemical Engineering class offering a research position. After looking up more information about the lab, I realized it was exactly what I was looking for and applied.
3: Where do you see your research fitting into our energy future? Bioethanol fuel is a promising alternative to fossil fuel, but current production methods limit its widespread adoption. By optimizing our cellulase enzyme, we hope to decrease the time and cost of bioethanol fuel production. Shifting away from our dependence on fossil fuels will reduce environmental stress and provide a potential solution to the growing energy crisis.