Current Research

CRISPR-based functional genomics for Zymomonas mobilis

Biofuels, which are fermented from plant material by microorganisms, offer a promising and sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuels. However, obstacles remain that hinder the economic feasibility of biofuels. One such obstacle is decreased yield due to the microbial stress response to toxic compounds in the broken-down plant material, termed “lignocellulosic hydrolysate.” My research employs CRISPR-based functional genomics for Zymomonas mobilis, a prolific biofuel-fermenting bacterium, to understand its stress response to lignocellulosic hydrolysates. We aim to characterize key genes and genetic interactions involved in the stress response, with the end goal of engineering robust strains with increased tolerance to these toxic compounds. Development of such strains will be paramount in increasing the economic
profitability of biofuel production.