The Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation recognizes Ryan Senger, an associate professor of Biological Systems Engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering, for working to build novel tools and processes for biotechnology.
His lab performs experimental and computational research in the areas of metabolic engineering, systems biology, synthetic biology, and real-time physiological monitoring.
In addition, Senger seeks to derive valuable chemical intermediates, specialty products, and fuels from biological sources. By engineering microbes, for example, his lab is working on ways to produce valuable chemicals and fuels from renewable resources such as sunlight/carbon dioxide, plant biomass, and waste.
In work that is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies, Senger is studying the metabolic engineering of a bacterium called “Clostridium cellulolyticum,” which is useful for the anaerobic fermentation of cellulosic plant materials — a common component of biomass. The goal is to yield substances could be used as alternative energy and commodity chemicals.
In addition, he is interested in biosynthesis of alcohol biofuels from carbon dioxide, model-guided metabolic engineering of Arabidopsis for increased cellulose production; predicting high-oil phenotypes for seed rational metabolic engineering using genome-scale modeling; and generating environmentally friendly novel biofuel molecules with synthetic biology.
In addition, the Senger lab also seeks to determine the chemical composition of cells, tissues, and organs in real time and relate these to the presence of disease and genetic programs that alter an organism’s characteristics and behavior.
He received master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Millikin University.