George H. McArthur IV, Ph.D. student, Virginia Commonwealth University
Research in Microbial Metabolic Engineering
The ability to (re)program microbial metabolism offers a sustainable alternative to chemical production from petroleum. Therefore, the goal of my research is to develop a platform microorganism for industrial bioprocesses. In particular, I am interested in implementing novel metabolism in photosynthetic microbes such as microalgae for the direct photobiosynthesis of high-value products and commodity chemicals (e.g., biofuel). Results from this work include progress toward establishing a collection of standard biological parts, which is fundamental to the development of synthetic biology.
Biochemical Process Engineering
One of the main challenges in culturing microalgae at an industrial scale is designing a cost-effective bioreactor. Therefore, to optimize the impact of a photosynthetic platform organism, I am working on a novel photobioreactor design.