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Mary Ann Franden

Photo of Mary Ann Franden

Mary Ann Franden is a senior scientist in the Applied Biology group of the National Bioenergy Center (NBC) at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Her latest accomplishments include the development of growth assay and fermentation tools to monitor toxicity of Zymomonas by model compounds and hydrolysates. This allowed for the identification of dominant inhibitors to Zymomonas mobilis that are present in corn stover lignocellulosic hydrolysates generated during dilute acid pretreatment. In addition to working toward meeting U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office target goals for 2012, she has participated in collaboration with DuPont on the Integrated Corn-Based Biorefinery (ICBR) cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), toward the development of a proprietary ethanologen based on Zymomonas mobilis to convert sugars contained in the feedstock into high yields of ethanol with fewer byproducts. She has also collaborated with the Corn Refiners Association through a CRADA to identify suitable L-arabinose transporters for cloning to enhance arabinose uptake. Earlier in her career with NREL, she successfully introduced the xylose pathway from a heterofermentative L. pentosus strain to a homofermentative L. Mont4 strain fermenting xylose to >90% lactic acid and with genetic modifications, glucose catabolite repression was alleviated for simultaneous glucose xylose fermentations.

Prior to joining NREL, she successfully designed a purification procedure for the human progesterone receptor from baculovirus extracts that allowed for structural analytical studies with X-ray crystallography and resulted in four publications. The majority of her employment at the Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Genetics at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center was focused on the study of Escherichia coli DNA Polymerase III Holoenzyme, which is the major replicative complex of E. coli and is composed of 10 subunits. Identification of genes coding for five of the subunits of holoenzyme was successfully achieved, resulting in a better understanding of holoenzyme structure and function.

Research Interests

  • Biomass conversion to biofuels
  • Metabolic engineering of Zymomonas, Lactobacillus, E. coli, and yeast
  • Hydrolysate toxicity
  • Fermentation
  • Sugar transport in yeast and Zymomonas
  • Metabolite analysis
  • Protein overexpression and purification

Education

Post-baccalaureate status with emphasis on Computer Science, University of Houston and University of Colorado at Denver, 1979–1987
B.S., Microbiology, Ohio State University, 1977

Professional Experience

  • Senior Scientist, Applied Biology Group, National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado, 2000–present
  • Professional Research Assistant, Division of Endocrinology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, 1997–2000
  • Associate Molecular Biologist, Alternative Fuels Division, Applied Biological Sciences Branch, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado, 1993–1996
  • Professional Research Assistant, Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Genetics, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, Colorado, 1985–1993
  • Research Assistant, Department of Biochemistry, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, Texas, 1983–1985
  • Research Assistant, Department of Virology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1978–1983

Patents and Publications

Patents

  • Viitanen, P.V.; Luan, T.; Zhang, Y.; Caimi, P.G.; McCutchen, C.M.; McCole, L.; Zhang, M.; Chou, Y.-C.; Franden, M.A. "Zymomonas with improved xylose utilization." U.S. Patent No. 7,998,722, 2011.
  • Viitanen, P.V.; Luan, T.; Zhang, Y.; Caimi, P.G.; McCole, L.; Zhang, M.; Chou, Y.C.; McCutchen, C.M.; Franden, M.A. "High expression Zymomonas promoters." U.S. Patent No. 7,989,206, 2011.
  • Caimi, P.G.; Chou, Y.C.; Franden, M.A.; Knoke, K.; Luan, T.; Viitanen, P.V.; Zhang, M.; Zhang, Y. "Zymomonas with improved ethanol production in medium containing concentrated sugars and acetate." U.S. Patent No. 7,897,396, 2011.
  • Caimi, P.G.; Chou, Y.C.; Franden, M.A.; Knoke, K.; Luan, T.; Viitanen, P.V.; Zhang, M.; Zhang, Y. "Zymomonas with improved ethanol production in medium containing concentrated sugars and acetate." U.S. Patent No. 7,803,623, 2010.
  • Viitanen, P.V.; McCutchen, C.M.; Xu, L.; Emptage, M.; Caimi, P.G.; Zhang, M.; Chou, Y.-C.; Franden, M.A. "Ethanol production in fermentation of mixed sugars containing xylose." U.S. Patent No. 7,629,156, 2009.
  • Zhang, M.; Singh, A.; Knoshaug, E.; Franden, M.A.; Jarvis, E.; Suominen, P. "L-arabinose fermenting yeast." U.S. Patent No. 7,846,712, 2010.
  • Franden, M.A.; Zhang, M.; McMillan, J.; Finkelstein, M.; Picataggio, S. "Recombinant Lactobacillus for fermentation of xylose to lactic acid and lactate." U.S. Patent No. 5,798,237, 1998.

Publications

Contact Information

Mary Ann Franden
Senior Scientist
National Bioenergy Center
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
MS 3323
15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401
Phone: 303-384-7767
Fax: 303-384-7752