The research lab at Dartmouth led by Professor Lee Lynd engages in a range of research activities unified by the overarching goal of cost-effective production of cellulosic biofuels that benefit people and the environment. These activities draw from a diversity of academic disciplines, with molecular biology, microbiology, chemical/biochemical engineering providing the foundation for the first three. Consistent with the "Pasteur's Quadrant" model articulated by Donald Stokes (Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1997), we see advancing applied capability and increased fundamental understanding as convergent and mutually-reinforcing, and we aspire to work in this mode.
A central theme of the Lynd Lab is processing cellulosic biomass in a single step without added enzymes. Such "consolidated bioprocessing" (CBP) offers documented potential for transformative cost reductions. Although we are focused on production of ethanol, a promising renewable fuel, the CBP strategy is potentially applicable to a broad range of fuels and chemicals. Additionally, ethanol has strong potential as an intermediate for production of larger fuel molecules preferred for difficult-to-electrify heavy-duty transport modes.
Dr. Lynd is assisted in running the lab by management team members: Research Professor Dr. Dan Olson (Metabolic Engineering); and Research Scientists Dr. Evert Holwerda (Microbial Cellulose Utilization) and Dr. Mark Laser (Bioenergy Intensive Futures). The Lynd group includes post doctoral associates, graduate students, technicians, undergraduates, and, from time to time, visiting scientists. Our activities are enhanced by close collaborations with members of the DOE Center for Bioenergy Innovation and a growing network of colleagues around the world.
Students may work toward graduate degrees in the Lynd Lab in either engineering or the life sciences. Information on graduate programs, degree requirements, and admissions may be found at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering and the Molecular and Cell Biology Program. Prospective students are encouraged to contact Professor Lynd to evaluate the extent to which their interests and professional development could be served by working toward a graduate degree with thesis work as a member of the Lynd Lab. Students with undergraduate preparation in the sciences who wish to pursue graduate work in engineering are encouraged to inquire and may note that this path was taken by several current and former group members, including Professor Lynd himself.
MS graduate Galen Moynihan is at Yali Bio working as a bioprocess engineer: "I've run about 30 fermentations since I started so it has been, and is, very busy. I took some time away from fermentation after I graduated, but I'm happy to be using the skills I learned in your lab again."
Toward low-cost biological and hybrid biological/catalytic conversion of cellulosic biomass to fuels
Abstract: Developing economically viable, scalable, and sustainable technologies for the conversion of lignocellulosic polysaccharides to liquid fuels is widely seen as a centerpiece of the global bioeconomy, and a key part of a multi-pronged approach to achieve carbon neutrality. Here we identify technology challenges and opportunities to achieve this promise.
“What is special about the lab is that while the core is research, Lee is also involved in many other activities that give people in the group access to broader perspectives.”
—Evert Holwerda, Research Scientist