Department of

Chemical Engineering

Designing molecular technology for the 21st century with biology and chemistry

Photo of faculty member Wayne Curtis.

Professor Wayne Curtis

Ph.D., Purdue University

Office: 226B Fenske Laboratory

Phone: (814) 863-4805

Labs: 222, 225, 230, and 232 Fenske Laboratory

222, 225, 230, and 232 Lab Phone: (814) 863-4093

Primary Links

Research Summary

Biofuels from Algae & Cellulose
We are developing bioreactor systems to grow algae to capture CO2 as well as genetically engineer algae to produce hydrocarbon biofuels. This includes a collaboration with U. Kentucky
plant molecular biologist (Joe Chappell)

We are developing a low-capital investment fermentor for degradation of biomass to ethanol. It will include working with a pre-treatment process developed by Bruce Dale (Michigan State) and Susan Leshine (UMass) who discovered the microorganism that chews up cellulose.

Producing Therapeutics and Drug Screening
Our lab developed a way to deliver DNA to plant tissues using a modified plant pathogenic bacteria so that the expression of the gene can be tested in a matter of days rather than months required for transgenic plants. This system can be used to expression therapeutic proteins, or test the ability to alter plant biochemistry rapidly.

Membrane proteins are the 'cells gate-keepers' and have been extremely difficult to produce. Working with Argonne National Labs (Deborah Hansen & Phil Laible), we have recently demonstrated the ability to produce very high levels of functional membrane proteins in a photosynthetic bacteria. This involves a unique bioreactor as well as growth under anaerobic photoheterotrophic conditions.

Please refer to my group web page for more information.

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