Biochemical engineering, cell cycle kinetics, biodegradable polymers.
Friedrich Srienc works in the general area of biochemical engineering. He employs a diverse set of approaches to biotechnology and bioengineering ranging from molecular biology, metabolic engineering and mathematical modeling in studying fundamental processes of gene expression, protein synthesis and metabolic networks and how these relate to the growth physiology of cells.
One important component of Srienc's work is the study of the biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoic acids (PHA). These biopolymers represent biodegradable thermoplastics that could replace certain petrochemically derived non-biodegradable plastics now contributing to environmental pollution.
Srienc has worked to engineer new reaction pathways into host cells using genetic engineering tools to synthesize new types of PHA polymers with useful properties. Using specific bioprocessing strategies, cells are made to synthesize microstructured architectures of PHA that confer desirable physical properties to these new biopolymers. Moreover, coupling PHA production with ethanol production (using the same biological raw materials) improves the economic viability of both.
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