Scott A. Banta
Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, Rutgers University, 2002
M.S., Chemical Engineering, Rutgers University, 2000
B.S.E, Chemical Engineering, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1997.
Our research focuses on applying protein engineering, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology tools to solve a variety of important problems in bioengineering. Protein engineering involves the modification of proteins and peptides in order to produce new molecules with novel traits or functions. Metabolic engineering refers to the characterization and improvement of networks of enzymes to obtain desired new goals. These pursuits can be used to bring about new solutions to problems in biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, bioprocess engineering, and bioenergy research.
One of our current research interests involves the engineering a unique peptide sequence that can transition from an unfolded-state to a folded-state upon addition of calcium. We have used protein engineering to better understand this conformational behavior. And we have engineered the peptide for a variety of useful applications including hydrogel formation, protein purification, and more recently biomolecular recognition.
Another focus of the laboratory is on the development of protein/protein and protein/nanomaterial interactions for multi-modal and multi-step catalytic processes. We have engineered enzymes to interact with different nano-scale materials to enhance electron transfer. We have created self-assembling enzymatic hydrogels that catalyze novel metabolic pathways. And we are exploring new ways to coordinate enzymes together to improve catalytic performance in a way that mimics natural protein arrangements.
Finally, we have an ongoing interest in developing strategies to create biochemicals from CO2 using renewable electricity (termed Electrofuels). We have been engineering a unique iron-oxidizing bacterium and designing reactor configurations to enable biofuel production in this platform. More recently we have been exploring this organism for biofuel production using waste streams from the mining industry as an energy source. This system could enable new technologies for creating carbon-neutral biofuels without the need for petroleum or agriculture.
Wheeldon, I.R., Minteer, S.D., Banta, S., Calabrese Barton, S., Atanassov, P., and Sigman, M. (2016) “Substrate channeling as an approach to cascade reactions” Nature Chemistry 8(4)
Kernan, T., Majumdar, S., Li, X., Guan, J., West, A.C., and Banta, S. (2016) “Engineering the iron-oxidizing chemolithoautotroph Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans for biochemical production” Biotechnology and Bioengineering 113(1) 189-197
Patel, T.N., Park, A-H.A. and Banta, S. (2014) “Genetic manipulation of outer membrane permeability: Generating porous heterogeneous catalyst analogs in Escherichia coli” ACS Synthetic Biology 3(12) 848-854.
Dooley, K., Bulutoglu, B. and Banta, S. (2014) “Doubling the cross-linking interface of a rationally-designed beta roll peptide for calcium-dependent proteinaceous hydrogel formation” Biomacromolecules 15(10) 3617-3624.
Shur, O., Dooley, K. Blenner, M., Baltimore, M., and Banta, S. (2013) “A designed, phase changing RTX-based peptide for efficient bioseparations” BioTechniques 54(4) 197-206.