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Mark A. Blenner, Ph.D.

Mark A. BlennerCECAS Dean’s Assistant Professor
Protein Engineering, Synthetic Biology, Metabolic Engineering, Biocatalysis, Biosensors, Biotechnology
Phone: 864-656-0290
Office: 207A Earle Hall

Mark Blenner with students in labEducation

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2009
M.S., Columbia University, 2006
B.S., Manhattan College, 2004

Research Interests:

Protein Engineering, Synthetic Biology, Metabolic Engineering, Biocatalysis, Biosensors, Biotechnology

As a group that uses protein engineering and synthetic biology, we take a molecular-scale approach to improving bioprocessing. We apply chemical engineering fundamentals along with tools from protein engineering, synthetic biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry to address major problems in energy, sustainability, and human heath.

We study how microorganisms sense their environment, how that information is processed, and how it ultimately leads to a change in phenotype. From an engineering standpoint, we are interested in using this information to improve biological synthesis of fuels and chemicals from renewable biomass. Another major interest of our group is developing cell-based biosensors for metabolic engineering, environmental detection, biodiagnostic, and biocatalysis applications.

Selected Publications

Rodriguez, G.‡, Shabbir Hussain, M.‡, Gambill L., Gao, D., Yaguchi, A., Blenner, M.* “Engineering Xylose Utilization in Yarrowia lipolytica by Understanding its Cryptic Xylose Pathway”, Biotechnology for Biofuels 9:149 (2016).

Schartz, C., Shabbir-Hussain, M., Blenner, M., Wheeldon, I. “Synthetic RNA Polymerase III Promoters Facilitate High Efficiency CRISPR-Cas9 Mediated Genome Editing in Yarrowia lipolytica”, ACS Synthetic Biology 5(4):356-359. (2016)

Shabbir Hussain, M., Gambill L., Smith, S., Blenner, M. “Engineering Promoter Architecture in Oleaginous Yeast Yarrowia lipolytica”, ACS Synthetic Biology, 5(3):213-223.(2016)

Blenner, M. "Enzymatic Deconstruction of Lignin for Biofuels" in "Advances in Enzymatic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels" 20-36. (2015)

Wilson, A., Blenner, M., Guiseppi-Elie, A.* “Polyplex Formation Influences Release Mechanism of Mono- and Di-Valent Ions from Phosphorylcholine Group Bearing Hydrogels”, Polymers, 6, 2451-2472. (2014)

Nedumpully-Govindan, P., Li, L., Alexov, E., Blenner, M., Ding, F.  "Structural and Energetic Determinants of Tyrosylprotein Sulfotransferase Specificity" Bioinformatics. 15, 30:2302-2309. (2014)

Blenner, M., Dong, X., Springer, T. "The structure basis of regulation of von Willebrand Factor binding to Glycoprotein Ib." Journal of Biological Chemistry, 289:5565-5579. (2014)

Shur, O, Blenner, M., Baltimore, M., Banta, S. "A Designed, Phase Changing RTX Peptide for Efficient Bioseparations" Biotechniques, 54, 4:197-206. (2013)

Banta, S., Wheeldon, I., Blenner, M. “Protein engineering in the development of functional hydrogels,” Annual Reviews in Biomedical Engineering, 12 167-186. (2010)

Blenner, M., Shur, O., Szilvay, G., Cropeck, D., Banta, S., “Calcium induced folding of a Repeat in Toxin (RTX)- Domain Via C-Terminal Entropic Stabilization,” Journal of Molecular Biology. 400, 244-256. (2010)

Szilvay, G., Blenner, M., Cropeck, D., Banta, S. “A FRET-based Method for Probing the Conformational Behavior of an Intrinsically Disordered Repeat Domain from Bordetella pertussis Adenylate Cyclase,” Biochemistry 48, 11273-11282. (2009)

Blenner, M., Banta, S. “Characterization of the 4D5Flu single chain antibody with a stimulus-responsive elastin-like peptide linker: A potential reporter of peptide linker conformation,” Protein Science 17, 527-536. (2008)

Chockalingam, K., Blenner, M., Banta, S. “Design and application of stimulus responsive peptide systems,” Protein Engineering Design and Selection 20, 155-61. (2007)