Adrian Tsang, PhD
Professor and Director, Center for Functional and Structural Genomics, Biology
The economic and environmentally sustainable hydrolysis of plant cell wall into sugars remains one of the key challenges in the widespread utilization of lignocellulosic biomass as the substrate for bioproducts development. Microorganisms, in particular fungi, are efficient decomposers of plant biomass. They produce extracellular enzymes to breakdown plant biomass. We use genomic and ancillary approaches to identify novel enzymes involved in lignocellulose hydrolysis. Our research includes: 1) sequencing and analysis of thermophilic fungi and wood-rotting fungi; 2) examine the transcriptome and exo-proteome profiles of these fungi to identify promising lignocellulolytic proteins; 3) produce recombinant proteins using the industrial workhorse Aspergillus niger; 4) determine the biochemical properties of the recombinant enzymes; and 5) in collaboration with industrial and government partners, test the enzymes for industrial and environmental applications. Data management and development of computational tools are integral parts of our research. Other research interests include biocuration, phylogenomics, developmental of sustainable biotechnology and cell differentiation.