Projects

Active Sponsored Projects:

 

ACS Herman Frasch Fund for Chemical Research – Elucidating the Chemical Mechanisms and Kinetics for Lignin Disassembly with Bimetallic Metal Oxides (2017-2022). Project Role: Elucidating, and ultimately manipulating, the effect of copper and nickel bimetallic compositions within porous metal oxides as catalysts for selective lignin depolymerization into aromatic chemicals via hydrogenolysis.

NSF CMMI –  Science and Technology Center for Engineering Mechano-Biology (2016-2021), a collaboration between Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania.  Project Role: Applying advanced characterization techniques to the plant cell wall to investigate biomechanics and mechanobiology and to understand fundamental concepts of growth and morphogenesis.

NSF CBET Catalysis – Designing Catalytic Interfaces to Promote Selective Lignin Depolymerization (2016-2019), in a collaboration with Dr. Susanna Scott, UC Santa Barbara.  Project Role: Synthesizing novel lignin model compounds and polymers and investigating reaction pathways for heterogeneous catalyzed hydrogenolysis of lignin.

DOE Biological and Environmental Research – Systems Engineering of Rhodococcus opacus to Enable Production of Drop-in Fuels from Lignocelluloses (2017-2020), in a collaboration with Dr. Gautam Dantas, WUSTL School of Medicine, Dr. Tae Seok Moon, WUSTL EECE Department Dr. Fuzhong Zhang, WUSTL EECE Department, Dr. Yinjie Tang, WashU EECE Department, and Hector-Garcia Martin, Biosciences, Berkeley Lab.  Project Role: Characterizing Rhodococcus Opacus metabolism of aromatic compounds and lipid production.

 

Completed Projects:

 

NSF DMR Polymers – EAGER: Investigating the Structure-Property Relationships of Sugar-Derived Block Copolymers (2015-2017), in a collaboration with Dr. Thomas Epps III, University of Delaware.  Project Role: Synthesizing novel sugar-derived monomers for polymerization into block copolymers.

DOE Biological and Environmental Research – Systems Biology of Rhodococcus Opacus to Enable Production of Fuels and Chemicals (2014-2017), in a collaboration with Dr. Gautam Dantas, WUSTL School of Medicine and Dr. Tae Seok Moon, WUSTL EECE Department.  Project Role: Characterizing Rhodococcus Opacus metabolism of aromatic compounds and lipid production.

WashU InCEES Award – Transition Metal Complexes for Lignin Depolymerization (2015-2016), in a collaboration with Dr. John Bleeke, WashU Chemistry Department.  Project Role: Investigating the novel homogenous catalysts for the hydrogenolysis of lignin.

WUSTL Engineering Collaboration Initiation Grant – Novel NMR and EPR Technology for Surface Characterization of Biomass (2015-2016), in a collaboration with Dr. Alexander Barnes, WashU Chemistry Department.  Project Role: Investigating the application of dynamic nuclear polarization NMR for surface analysis of biomass.

Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization – Addressing Challenges to Market Implementation of Co-Firing of Torrefied Biomass (2015-2016), in a collaboration with Dr. Ben Kumfer, WashU EECE Department.  Project Role: Investigating biomass torrefaction reaction pathways.

WashU InCEES Award – Aerosol Synthesis of Hyperthermic Catalysis (2014-2015), in a collaboration with Dr. Pratim Biswas, WUSTL EECE Department.  Project Role: Investigating a robust hyperthermic catalytic system to efficiently capture and utilize microwave energy for chemical reactions.

WashU InCEES Award – Hybrid Conversion of Lignin: Trees to Fat (2013-2014), in a collaboration with Dr. Tae Seok Moon, WashU EECE Department.  Project Role: Investigating a catalyzed hydrogenolysis process to produce a narrow distribution of water-soluble lignin fragment intermediates.

Georgia Tech FACES Career Initiation Grant – Exploitation of Lignocellulosic Biomass (2012).