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Christopher Brigham, Ph.D.

Christopher Brigham

Assistant Professor

  • Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
  • B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Villanova University, Villanova, PA

Contact information

Areas of interest

  • Metabolic engineering
  • Bio-based, biodegradable polymers
  • Biofuels
  • Environmental microbiology
  • Molecular microbiology
  • Bioprocessing

Research interests

Sustainable, bio-based chemicals and materials are becoming highly sought after in many spheres of human activity. Many compounds that were originally produced by industrial chemical methods can now be produced by microorganisms. The discipline of metabolic engineering allows us to construct metabolic pathways to synthesize value added products from surplus or waste carbon feedstocks. Using the bacterium Ralstonia eutropha (a.k.a Cupriavidus necator) and other industrially relevant species, we produce materials like bioplastics from plant oils and carbon-containing waste streams, and we can design metabolic pathways that allow the bacterium to produce compounds like biofuels and fine chemicals. We can then use bioengineering to scale up synthesis of these compounds and develop a production process and measure its productivity. Also, the understanding of the metabolism of organisms like R. eutropha in nature can help us rationally design a production strain with high productivity in mind.   

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