The strength of the UC Davis campus in basic and applied biology provides a rich environment in which to build outstanding programs in biochemical, bioprocess, and biomedical engineering. Our faculty members are involved in a broad range of biologically-based research including studies of membrane structure and transport, bioprocess design including bioreactor scaleup and optimization, design of stable and efficient expression systems, and metabolic pathway design.
These studies have applications in agriculture, food, medicine, and chemicals. Professors Boulton, Block, EI-Farra, and McDonald have research programs that focus on various aspects of bioprocess design related to industrial scale production.
Prof. Block is studying the application of data-mining and neural-network technologies to the acquisition of data from fermentation reactors and the subsequent optimization of those fermentations.
Prof. El-Farra is developing computational modeling and systems-level tools for the analysis of biological regulatory networks underlying fundamental cellular processes, with the aim of applying this understanding for the development of novel, biologically-inspired strategies for large scale process control and optimization.
Prof. McDonald works on studies of strategies to efficiently produce high-value proteins in genetically engineered plants.
Profs Block and Boulton have research programs involving the production of wine. Prof. Block is studying the factors affecting the kinetics of wine fermentation and the causes of “stuck” fermentations also with applications to bioenergy generation.
Prof. Boulton is studying processes for the removal of unstable protein fractions from wine, and the biochemical factors that affect the color of wine. Profs. Block, Longo, Ristenpart and Kuhl have research addressing important medical issues.
Prof. Longo’s group integrates proteins into lipid-based systems using cell-free protein expression and recombinant proteins and then combines these with gels, glasses, ceramics, or patterned materials in order to make new biofunctional materials.
Prof Kuhl is studying polymer coatings used for biocompatibility and targeting of medical devices and drugs. Prof. Ristenpart studies blood flow and recently patterns of blood spatter in crime scenes.