About the Seminar:
Enzyme catalysts that operate at a solid surface are critical in carbon cycling in the biosphere. For several years, we have been investigating the mechanisms of cellulose degradation by cellulase enzymes, and the first half of this talk will cover mechanistic investigations of processive enzymes that are able to bind to, depolymerize, and hydrolyze the cellulose polymer to soluble sugars. The second half of the talk will focus on applying similar tools to understand how esterase enzymes and microbes are able to break down the abundant plastic, polyethylene terephthalate.
About the Speaker: Gregg T. Beckham is a Senior Research Fellow at NREL. He received his PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2007. He currently works with an interdisciplinary team of biologists, chemists, and engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on conversion of biomass to chemicals and materials and plastics upcycling.