Anthony Stohr COE’21 has earned the highly competitive National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship to support his doctoral work in chemical and biomolecular engineering, which he will pursue at the University of Delaware. The award, which is funded by the research agencies within the United States Department of Defense, recognizes the potential of Anthony’s research to contribute to US national security interests.
A chemical engineering major with minors in mathematics and biochemical engineering, Anthony’s research interests focus on the development of alternatives to carbon-based fuels which do not divert agricultural resources from the global food supply, as many current biofuels do. Such alternative fuels could provide a consistent, domestically produced supply while also decreasing carbon emissions in order to combat climate change.
Acetogens, an anaerobic group of bacteria that can ferment gaseous carbon into useful chemicals and biofuels, present themselves as a potential biological solution to this problem. However, commercial success of these microbes has been hampered by the need for expensive gas pre-treatment to reduce the oxygen concentration, which is toxic to these microbes. Anthony’s undergraduate research, mentored by Professor Benjamin Woolston and supported by PEAK Experiences Summit Awards in Summer and Fall 2020, sought to exploit C. ljungdahlii, an acetogen, to improve biochemical processes for fuel production. Anthony proposed to continue working on C. ljungdahlii for his PhD research.