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Michael Resch

Bioconversion Specialist | 303-384-6521

Research Interests

Dr. Michael Resch holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Colorado State University. His dissertation work focused on the biophysical and structural properties of nucleosomes and chromatin arrays in vitro in the laboratories of Dr. Karolin Luger and Dr. Jeffery Hansen at Colorado State University.

Dr. Resch's career at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) began in 2008 as a postdoctoral researcher working on cellulase and hemicellulase enzyme characterization, funded by the Department of Energy through the BioEnergy Science Center and the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO). Early in 2011, he began working as a research scientist focused on comparing the saccharification mechanisms between free fungal and complexed bacterial enzyme systems. The ultimate goal of these studies was to improve the hydrolysis efficiency of cellulase and hemicellulase enzyme digestion of biomass. This work helped NREL lower the industrial cost of lignocellulosic enzyme conversion of biomass to sugars for biofuel production.

During this time, Dr. Resch was also involved in investigating biological lignin depolymerization with the ultimate goal of converting lignin into value-added fuels or chemicals. Lignin is an underutilized biomass component that has historically been used for heat and power in industrial settings. To enable this technology, Dr. Resch worked on biophysically characterizing metabolic enzymes involved with the upgrading of lignin and sugar-derived intermediates into fuels and chemicals.

In 2014, Dr. Resch became the section supervisor of the Bioprocess Research Group in NREL's National Bioenergy Center. The researchers in this diverse group are involved with microbial development of photobiological and fermentation applications.

In October 2016, Dr. Resch started a Materials & Operations Detail at the Bioenergy Technologies Office in Washington, D.C., supporting the Advanced Algal Systems and Conversion Platforms. Dr. Resch will provide technical expertise to ensure the integration of strong research, technology, and industrial perspectives in the planning and oversight of BETO's R&D efforts. Dr. Resch will also assist in the planning and implementation of technical priorities as well as analysis to support the BETO formulation of program goals and metrics. This will allow the opportunity to provide technical and analytical expertise for the development and implementation of the Annual Operating Plans, Funding Opportunities, and Multi-Year Program Plans to maintain integration between Algae and Conversion platforms.

A series of five vertical illustrations that show plant cell walls before and after enzyme pretreatment. Cellulose is represented by long, straight green bars; hemicellulose is represented by squiggly green lines; lignin is represented by short yellow bars; Cel7A is represented by small red globs; and cellulosome is represented by blue globular clusters. Going left to right, the first one is labeled "cell wall" and shows the wall surface on the left side and the wall interior on the right side; the second is labeled "pretreated"; the third is labeled "free" and shows Cel7A attached; the fourth is labeled "complexed" and shows cellulosome attached; and the fifth is labeled "combined" and shows both Cel7a and cellulosome attached.

Illustration of plant cell walls before and after pretreatment and models of hydrolysis by free (red) and complexed (blue) enzyme systems.

Free enzymes with single carbohydrate-binding modules (CBMs) and catalytic units hydrolyze cell wall polysaccharides by utilizing endoglucanases and Cellobiohydrolase (CBH) to react with accessible cellulose surfaces. Complexed enzymes with multiple catalytic and binding specificities likely have lower off-rates, and once bound at multiple points of contact, disrupt the biomass surface resulting in an increase in surface area. Combining these two enzyme paradigms on pretreated biomass synergistically deconstructs the cell walls by increasing the reactive surface area allowing free enzymes to better diffuse and processively hydrolyze the substrate. Also, by removing the majority of the lignin and hemicellulose from the cellulose fraction (CF), CF enhances the cellulose activity enabling the benefits of combining these two deconstruction mechanisms.

Affiliated Research Programs

Featured Publications

  1. "Reductive Catalytic Fractionation of Corn Stover Lignin," ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2016)

  2. "Interrelationships Between Cellulase Activity and Cellulose Particle Morphology," Cellulose (2016)

  3. "Dramatic Performance of Clostridium thermocellum Explained by its Wide Range of Cellulase Modalities," Science Advances (2016)

  4. "Lignin Depolymerization by Fungal Secretomes and a Microbial Sink," Green Chemistry (2016)

  5. "Editorial Overview: Energy: Prospects for Fuels and Chemicals from a Biomass-Based Biorefinery using Post-Genomic Chemical Biology Tools," Current Opinion in Chemical Biology (2015)

  6. "Mechanisms Employed by Cellulase Systems to Gain Access Through the Complex Architecture of Lignocellulosic Substrates," Current Opinion in Chemical Biology (2015)

  7. "Alkaline Pretreatment of Switchgrass," ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2015)

  8. "Molecular-Scale Features that Govern the Effects of O-Glycosylation on a Carbohydrate Binding Module," ACS Chemical Science (2015)

  9. "O-Glycosylation Effects on Family 1 Carbohydrate-Binding Module Solution Structures," FEBS J. (2015)

  10. Low Solids Enzymatic Saccharification of Lignocellulosic Biomass, NREL Laboratory Analytical Procedure (2015)

  11. "Predicting enzyme adsorption to lignin films by calculating enzyme surface hydrophobicity," Journal of Biological Chemistry (2014)

  12. "Clean fractionation pretreatment reduces enzyme loadings for biomass saccharification and reveals the mechanism of free and cellulosomal enzyme synergy," ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering (2014)

  13. "Specificity of O-Glycosylation in Enhancing the Stability and Cellulose Binding Affinity of Family 1 Carbohydrate-Binding Modules," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (2014)

  14. "Engineering plant cell walls: tuning lignin monomer composition for deconstructable biofuel feedstocks or resilient biomaterials," Green Chemistry (2014)

  15. "Revealing Nature's Cellulase Diversity: The Hyperactive CelA from Caldicellulosiriptor Bescii," Science (2014)

  16. "Glycosylated linkers in multi-modular lignocellulose degrading enzymes dynamically bind to cellulose," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA (2013)

  17. "Fungal cellulases and complexed cellulosomal enzymes exhibit synergistic mechanisms in cellulose deconstruction," Energy Env. Sci. (2013)

View all NREL Publications for Michael Resch.