Mark Blenner (Principal Investigator)

blennerthumb Assistant Professor
CES Dean's Professor in Chemical & Biomoelcular Engineering
Postdoc Harvard Medical School, 2012
Ph.D. Columbia University, 2009
B.S Manhattan College, 2004

Dr. Blenner is interested in understanding how the proteins involved in microbial catalysis and sensing systems work, and leveraging these complex systems to address problems related to energy, sustainability and human health. Using protein engineering and metabolic engineering tools, the Blenner lab seeks to understand how to improve biosynthesis of fuels, value added chemicals, and proteins by creating adventageous synthetic regulatory networks and engineering novel protein functions.

 


Graduate Students & Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr. Difeng Gao

Ph.D. (Biological & Agricultural Engineering) Washington State University, 2014
Thesis Title: Engineering Filamentous Fungi for Improved Production of Microbial Lipids

M.S. (Biological & Agricultural Engineering) Washington State University, 2012
B.S. (Bioengineering) Northwest A&F University, 2009

Project: Yeast Metabolic Engineering, Consolidated Bioprocessing

 

 

Maxwell Hilbert

B.S. (ChE) Virginia Tech, 2013
M.Eng. (ChE) University of Maryland, 2016

Projects: Engineering Better Enzyme Immobilization Strategies.

 

 

 

Dyllan Rives

B.S. (ChE) Auburn University, 2015

Project: Gene Regulation & Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast.

 

 

 

Murtaza Shabbir-Hussain

B.S. (ChE) University of Wyoming, 2011
B.A. (Chemistry) University of Wyoming, 2011

Projects: Gene Regulation & Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast.

 

 

 

Michael Spagnuolo

B.S. (ChE) Ohio State University, 2007
M.S. (ChE) Akron University, 2011

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast.

 

 

 

Weigao Wang

B.S. (BioE) Henan University, 2012
M.S. (Fermentation Eng.) Jiangnan University, 2015

Project: Engineering Extremophile Enzymes.

 

 

 

Molly Wintenberg

B.S. (ChE) University of Tennessee Knoxville, 2015

Project: Engineering Radiation Biosenors.

 

 

 

Allison Yaguchi

B.S. (ChE) Virginia Commonwealth University, 2014

Project: Engineering Metabolic Biosensors & Dynamic Regulation.

 

 

 


Technical Staff

Scott Anglin

B.S. (Env. Biology) University of Southern MIssissippi, 2011
M.S. (Mol. Biology) University of Southern MIssissippi, 2014

Project: Engineering Metabolic Biosensors & Dynamic Regulation.

 

 

 

Spencer Smith

B.S. (Biochemistry) Clemson University, 2017
Hometown: Franklin, IL

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginious Yeast.

 

 

 


Undergraduate Research Assistants

Meredith Bailey

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Greenville, SC

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 

Matthew Brabender

B.S. (ChE & Financial Management) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Cary, NC

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 


Creative Inquiry Students

Braxton Baird

B.S. (Genetics) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Lexington, NC

Project: Getting to Mars with Microbes

 

 

 

Adam Beitz

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Seneca, SC

Project: Engineering Better Enzyme Immobilization Strategies

 

 

 

Cheyenne Brady

B.S. (ChE) Clemson University, 2020
Hometown: Cary, NC

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 

Jennifer Cabezas

B.S. (Microbiology) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Simpsonville, SC

Project: Getting to Mars with Microbes

 

 

 

Sara Edgecomb

B.S. (ChE) Clemson University, 2020
Hometown: Unknown

Project: Genetic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 

Peyton Hudson

B.S. (Genetics) Clemson University, 2020
Hometown: Gaffney, SC

Project: Getting to Mars with Microbes

 

 

 

Mia Maciorowski

B.S. (ChE) Clemson University, 2021
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

Project: Getting to Mars with Microbes

 

 

 

Calvin Martin

B.S. (ChE) Clemson University, 2020
Hometown: Jasper, GA

Project: Genetic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 

Kaelyn O'Neill

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2018
Hometown: Clarksburg, MD

Project: Engineering Aromatic Metabolism

 

 

 

Camilo Suescum

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2019
Hometown: Aiken, SC

Project: Cellular Engineering for Enzyme Production

 

 

 

Alex Summers

B.S. (Chemical Engineering) Clemson University, 2020
Hometown: Unknown

Project: Engineering Radiation Biosensors

 

 

 

Grant Wilson

B.S. (BioE) Clemson University, 2018
Hometown: Greenville, SC

Project: Genetic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

 

 

 


Lab Alumni

A. Nolan Wilson (2013-2014)

Ph.D. (ChBE) Clemson University, 2014
Project: Molecular Control Loops in Bioresponsive Hydrogels for Drug Delivery
M.S. (ChBE) Clemson University, 2012
B.S. (ChE) Auburn University, 2007

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Natioanl Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

 

 

Erika Arvay (2014-2017)

B.S. (ChE) Clemson University, 2017
Hometown: Columbia, SC

Project: Engineering Direct Biofuel Production in Bacteria.

Current Position: PhD Student Chemical Engineering at Northwestern U.

 

 

Yancey Appling (2013)

B.S. (Microbiology) Clemson University, 2013
Hometown: Six Mile, SC

Project: Engineering microbial metabolism of aromatic compounds.

Current Position: Eastman Chemical, Lab Technician

 

 

David Carey (2013-2014)

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2014
Hometown: Greenville, SC

Project: Microbial Metabolism of Aromatic Compounds

 

 

 

Taylor Cook (2013-2015)

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2015
Hometown: Sumter, SC

Project: Engineering Metabolic Biosensors

Current Position: PhD Student (Pfleger Group) - Chemical & Biological Engineering - Wisconsin

 

 

Lauren Gambill (2014-2017)

B.S. (Genetics) Clemson University, 2017
Hometown: Columbia, SC

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast.

Current Position: PhD Student - Rice University

 

 

Dr. Gabriel Rodriguez (2014-2017)

Ph.D. (Chemistry) University of California Davis, 2014
Thesis Title: Metabolic Engineering of Microorganisms to Produce Fuels & Chemicals

B.S. (Chemistry) Florida International University, 2008

Project: Engineering Metabolic Biosensors & Lipid Metabolism

Current Position: Ginkgo Bioworks - Boston, MA

 

 

Sam Williams (2013-2015)

B.S. (ChE ) Clemson University, 2015 (Microbiology, Minor)
Hometown: Rock Hill, SC

Project: Engineering Biocatalytic Production of Dicarboxylic Acids

 

 

 

William "Dubby" Wiseman (2014-2016)

B.S. (ChE - BMOLE) Clemson University, 2016
Hometown: Blythewood, SC

Project: Metabolic Engineering of Oleaginous Yeast

Current Position: MS Student (Jewett Group) - Biotechnology Program - Northwestern

 

Other Former Research Students: Sarah Smith, Jillian Laird, Danielle Acker, Elizabeth Huntley, Jenna Schoefield (MSU), Jack Tabb, Erin Mihealsick, Alana Robinson, Phillip Baker, Kaitlyn Scola, Robert Barrett, Vineeth Sama, Tanner Karp, Kylie Burkes, Caroline Moody (NCSU), Emma Ressler, Michael Xie (Ohio), Shanna Pearce, Will Hardy, Mary Kate Rumph, Tiffany Yu, Jeremy Fowler, Sarah Knowles, Parker Hume, Julia Borglin, Jessica Zielinski, Kyle Pazzo, Hayden Campbell, Justin James, Jacob Livingston, Jeanette Rodriguez, Meg Wilkes, Andrew Dippre, Joseph Whitaker, Charlie Kessler, Kyle Reed, Katie Stahel, Megan Stahlberger, Mohit Gahndi, Patricia Jokl, Joseph Redzikowski, James Foster, Thomas Pavelka, Lauren Reed, Thomas Stanton, Joy Jones, Dennish Parekh, Syed Bukhari