Congratulations to Professor Tina Jeoh, whose project, Development of broadband infrared nano-spectroscopy of biological materials in fluid, has been awarded a $1.5 million dollar grant over three years from the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER) in the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant was made available through a program called “Bioenergy Research for Bioenergy”, and Dr. Jeoh’s project is in collaboration with Dr. Hoi-Ying Holman who leads LBNL’s Berkeley Synchrotron Infrared Structural Biology (BSISB) Imaging Program.
Learn more about the project below:
Title: Development of broadband infrared nano-spectroscopy of biological materials in fluid
PI: Tina Jeoh
Project Summary: This research aims to solve two major challenges –the mechanisms of cellulose hydrolysis by cellulases and the lack of label-free, nanometer scale and time-resolved imaging technique to study surface reactions in aqueous biological reactions. Elucidating how cellulases hydrolyze cellulosic substrates is a game-changer for the success of cellulosic biofuels and bioproducts. As the enzyme-catalyzed reactions occur at the surface of poorly characterized and complex plant cell wall matrices, the lack of means to map surface chemistry of the substrates in situ has severely hampered research progress. The development of a method that can map surface chemistry at the nanoscale over time in an aqueous reaction is a game changer not only for the study of cellulose hydrolysis reactions, but also for the study of any heterogeneous biological reaction. Thus, the goals of this research project are to overcome technological limitations to conducting detailed studies of surface reactions in aqueous biological systems with high spatial, chemical and time resolution, and to apply this method towards solving the mechanisms of enzymatic hydrolysis of cellulosic biomass. This project is a collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory