Kathryn Strobel.

Graduate Student
University of California, Berkeley

B.S. Chemical Engineering, 2010
University of Virginia

Office Location: 242 Energy Biosciences Building
Office Telephone: 510-666-2558

Understanding and Engineering Cellulase-Lignin Interactions

The high cost of hydrolytic enzymes is a barrier to the commercial production of lignocellulosic biofuels. Engineering cellulases for greater efficiency and stability could greatly reduce this cost by decreasing the amount of enzyme required. Cellulase efficiency is greatly reduced by lignin, a major component of biomass that remains present after all industrially-relevant pretreatment methods. Numerous studies have demonstrated an inverse correlation between the rate of biomass hydrolysis and the lignin content. Lignin has been shown to inhibit enzymatic hydrolysis and enzyme recovery by non-productively binding cellulases and contributing to enzyme denaturation.

I am working toward understanding cellulase-lignin affinity by using alanine-scanning mutagenesis to identify residues in T. reesei carbohydrate binding modules that contribute to lignin binding. My work will identify residues to target for engineering reduced lignin binding.

Hobbies: Baking delicious treats, homebrewing, hiking, Disney sing-alongs