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Sustainable Bioproduction

Sustainable bioproduction offers the versatility to synthesize a wide range of chemicals and materials from renewable feedstocks by employing and improving enzymes or biocatalysts originating from the nature. In Chang lab, we aim to engineer microbial hosts, enzymes and pathways to develop novel bioprocesses for the production of value-added compounds in a sustainable manner.


Strain Engineering

Our laboratory is currently a part of the Synthetic Biology Research and Develop Programme (SBP) in Singapore to collect and repurpose proprietary microbial strains for synthetic biology applications. We seek to isolate, identify and characterize novel microbial proprietary strains from various resources. We are working towards the development of novel synthetic biology toolkits in the proprietary strains and further use them as workhorses for industrial practices. Such novel repurposed strains can be used for production of industry-relevant compounds (e.g., high-value chemicals, nutraceuticals, enzymes, proteins, etc.).


Protein Engineering

Enzymes have revolutionized bioprocesses and aided industrial production, and thus are highly sought-after commodities in both academia and pharmaceutical industry. They fulfil the central tenets of sustainable development and green chemistry. We seek to explore and characterize the native enzymes, improve their activities, and create novel functionalities through rational engineering and directed evolution, combined with high-throughput screening aided by high-end technologies. The novel engineered enzymes generated are evaluated for their potential as biocatalysts for various metabolic pathways to improvise final product output.


Pathway Engineering

In this domain, we seek to engineer metabolic pathways in microbial hosts and cell-free systems for sustainable production. We identify biological entities such as genes, enzymes and pathways for biosynthesis of industry-relevant compounds from renewable feedstocks (e.g., C6/C5/C1 carbon sources, industrial/agricultural by-products, food waste, etc.). The identified biological entities are selected for reconstitution and rewiring of metabolic pathways. We optimize the engineered microbial producers by employing combinatorial engineering strategies (e.g., dynamic sensing and regulation, fine-tuning of gene expression, co-factor balancing, self-directed genome evolution), scale up the bioproduction in fermenters and develop bioprocesses to recover the end compounds.