Who Are We?
The Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory (BCRL) is a group of people committed to the idea that our society need not, indeed must not, be so totally and dangerously dependent on petroleum as a raw material. We seek to develop cost effective, efficient and environmentally attractive systems for converting renewable plant materials into fuels, chemicals and animal feeds. We regard ourselves as “serious dreamers” and collaborate extensively with other visionary but practical individuals. We are not as so many Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills. We believe that plant biomass can supply large scale energy services while still feeding humankind and that this emerging industry can be both economically and environmentally sound. We invite you to learn about our activities through this site and about those of like-minded groups through the many links provided.
Bruce Dale, PhD, Faculty Advisor
Dr. Dale is Professor of Chemical Engineering and former Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. Dr. Dale is the principal investigator and faculty advisor for the Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and currently the Editor in Chief of Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining.
Balan Venkatesh, PhD, Associate Professor
Dr. Venkatesh is Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. His research focus is on “Biomass pretreatment, protein extraction and enzymatic hydrolysis”.
Shishir P. S. Chundawat, Ph.D, Assistant Professor
Dr. Chundawat is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University (MSU).
Rebecca Garlock Ong, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dr. Ong is an Assistant Professorin the Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. She manages the pretreatment service platform for the GLBRC, providing AFEXTM-pretreated materials for research within the BCRL and GLBRC, and also for external collaborators.
Mingjie Jin, PhD, Assistant Professor
Mingjie Jin is an Assistant Professor in chemical engineering at MSU. His reasearch involves the process of fermentation of cellulosic biomass.
Seungdo Kim, PhD, Research Associate
Dr. Kim is a research specialist with the BCRL.
Christa Gunawan, Research Associate
Christa is a research associate of the BCRL.
James Humpula,Research Assistant
James Humpula is a Research Assistant in the Biomass Conversion Research Laboratory and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. His research focus is on the development and validation of analytical methods for gas and liquid chromatography.
Nirmal Uppugundla, Research Associate
Nirmal is a Research Associate at BCRL for the past 3 years. His research interests include Fermentation, Chromatography, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, and Mass spectrometry.
Leonardo Sousa, PhD Student
Leonardo is a doctoral graduate student in chemical engineering at MSU. His research involves understanding the fundamentals of AFEX pretreatment on cellulosic biomass.
Cory Sarks, PhD Student
Cory Sarks is a doctoral student in Chemical Engineering at Michigan State University. His research involves further understanding and making process modifications for ethanol production from lignocellulosic biomass.