ChBE Seminar Series: Ryan Senger

Tuesday, April 22, 2014
11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Room 2108, Chemical and Nuclear Engineering Building
Professor Ganesh Sriram

Ryan Senger
Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
Virginia Tech

Microbial cell factories (MCFs) are metabolically engineered microbes capable of producing valuable chemicals and/or biofuels. A new goal is to engineer a “biomass crop,” which is a plant capable of producing high levels of cellulose while being grown on marginal lands that cannot support normal farming. Easily accessible cellulose can be hydrolyzed and serve as a substrate to MCFs in a consolidated bioprocess. Our lab has successfully engineered the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to accumulate record levels of cellulose and have 3-fold increased stem diameters. We accomplished this by deriving a metabolic engineering strategy based on “genome-scale” metabolic flux modeling. In this seminar, the concept of genome-scale modeling will be addressed in detail along with how they can be used to formulate effective metabolic engineering strategies.

We have also developed new techniques in Raman spectroscopy that enable tracking cell phenotype changes in near real-time and in a non-destructive manner. This technique has been applied to determine toxicity responses of MCFs to a host of products as well as study the chemical composition of sub-cellular locations. In addition, we have developed Raman spectroscopy for biomedical applications such as: (i) determining the mechanism of action of new antimicrobial compounds and (ii) tracking the health of ex vivo perfused livers awaiting transplant. These applications of Raman spectroscopy will also be discussed in this seminar.

About the Speaker
Ryan S. Senger is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the department in 2009, Dr. Senger was an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He received a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Millikin University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Colorado State University. He also performed postdoctoral research at Texas Tech University and Northwestern University.

Audience: Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty  Post-Docs 

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