Forum Scientiarum

Dr. Pengfei Xia (Applied geosciences), National University of Singapore: Harnessing CRISPR-Cas Systems for Carbon Conservation

Abstract

Global climate change has been an alarming issue jeopardizing humanity. To alleviate the trend, it is imperative to produce fuels and chemicals from sustainable carbon sources and to mitigate the reliance on fossil fuels. Synthetic biology offers a potential solution to employ engineered microorganisms for utilizing C1 carbon, especially the inorganic CO2 and CO, as a carbon source to drive enhanced and non-natural biological functionalities. In this endeavor, we harnessed the rising synthetic biology tool, CRISPR-Cas systems, to engineer microbial hosts for C1 utilization and advanced bioproduction. Specifically, we focus on recycling wasteful C1 sources from biological and chemical processes. We believe this synthetic biological path would exhibit great potentials for carbon conservation.

 

Bio

Pengfei Xia obtained his Ph.D. (2016) and B.S. (2007) degrees from Shandong University in China, and M.S. degree (2010) from Chinese Academy of Sciences. Between 2014 and 2016, he was a visiting scholar at Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Subsequently, he worked on synthetic biology as a postdoctoral research fellow in Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently a Humboldt postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Tübingen in Germany. His research interests lie in synthetic biology and environmental biotechnology. By coupling interdisciplinary concepts and methodologies, he attempts to apply synthetic biological approaches to understand and resolve global-scale environmental issues with programmable micro-scale genetic devices.