Monday, February 6, at 12:10 p.m. in CUE 419

The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering is hosting a seminar presented by Dr. Brent Shanks, Engineering and the Mike and Jean Steffenson Chair of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Iowa State University.

Dr. Brent Shanks established and serves as Director of the NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC).  After receiving his B.S. degree from Iowa State University in 1983, he completed his Ph.D. degree at the California Institute of Technology in 1988.  From 1988 to 1999 he worked as a Research Engineer and Department Manager in the Catalyst Department at the Shell Chemical Company technology center in Houston, Texas.  He joined the faculty at Iowa State University in 1999 where his work has primarily involved the research and development of novel heterogeneous catalyst systems for efficiently converting biological-based feedstocks to chemicals and fuels.

Bioprivileged Molecules: Creating Value from Biomass

Much of the effort in converting biomass to biobased chemicals has been driven by the retrosynthesis of target molecules.  An alternative approach is the synthesis of “bioprivileged molecules” that are biology-derived chemical species that can be readily converted to a diversity of chemical products including drop-in replacements and novel species, which can be used for next generation nutraceuticals, antimicrobials, insecticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, specialty chemicals, materials, etc. The dual potentiality of a bioprivileged molecule is vital in creating value from biomass since innovative bioproducts represents a powerful driver for the development of biobased chemicals beyond just replacing fossil carbon with renewable carbon.  The important role of these molecules has been demonstrated as key intermediates in the integration of biology and chemistry by our National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC).  Several examples of bioprivileged molecules being developed by CBiRC will be discussed.