George N. Bennett, Ph.D.
E. Dell Butcher Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Microbial biotechnology has entered a new era due to the analysis of complete genomes of many organisms and the analytical capacity to measure transcription, proteins, and metabolic fluxes through systems biology approaches. We are now in the post-genomic era where creative use of this information in a more synthetic context can be applied to exploration of new scientific horizons and practical construction of microbes with optimized functions through metabolic engineering. The broader relevance of our work fits with several larger societal themes that are apt to continue to be of importance: concerns about environmental pollution, concerns about future energy and chemicals in an age of more expensive petroleum, the increasing capacity of computation to address complex issues in biology, and trends toward miniaturization, efficiency, specificity in process industry. These ideas coupled with the desire to understand more complex biological processes and apply advances to health make microbial biotechnology an important component of biofuels, genetics, and synthetic biology research. Information regarding our work on metabolic engineering projects with the bacteria Escherichia coli and Clostridium acetobutylicum related to formation and analysis of metabolic networks for specific chemical production and biodegradation is presented on this website. Other projects concerning how the pattern of cell-to-cell distribution of particular proteins can affect cell adaptation under fluctuating conditions and efforts to develop novel chemical and genetic manipulation tools are also ongoing.
|Professor George N. Bennett