Photo of Yat-Chen Chou

Yat Chou

Researcher IV-Molecular Biology


Yat-Chen Chou is a senior scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Her earlier research experience included exploring cellulase gene expression systems and using site-specific mutagenesis to enhance the activity of the enzymes. She has since devoted many years to researching the metabolic engineering of Zymomonas mobilis for efficient ethanol production, resulting in several patents, as well as a recent effort on producing other biofuel products. Yat-Chen was one of the key researchers in the cooperative research and development agreement project with DuPont, working on the construction and improvement of a robust ethanologen for their process. Her later research responsibilities expanded to include investigating microalgae as a feedstock for biofuel production and developing genetic tools to help achieve that goal.

Research Interests

Affiliated Research Programs

Ethanologen improvement

Microalgae genetic tool development (PI)

Biological transformation

Hydrocarbon production in microorganisms

Areas of Expertise

Molecular biology

Metabolic engineering for strain improvement



M.S., Biochemistry/Molecular Biology, Utah State University

B.S., Agricultural Chemistry, National Taiwan University

Featured Work

Probing the Role of N-Linked Glycans in the Stability and Activity of Fungal Cellobiohydrolases by Mutational Analysis, Cellulose (2009)

Performance of a Newly Developed Integrant of Zymomonas mobilis for Ethanol Production on Corn Stover Hydrolysate, Biotechnology Letters (2004)

Cloning and Heterologous Expression of the Gene Encoding a Family 7 Glycosyl Hydrolase from Penicillium funiculosum, Lignocellulose Biodegradation (2004)

Heterologous Expression of Trichoderma reesei 1,4-β-D-Glucan Cellobiohydrolase (Cel 7A), Applications of Enzymes to Lignocellulosics (2003)

Cofermentation of Glucose, Xylose, and Arabinose by Genomic DNA-Integrated Xylose/Arabinose Fermenting Strain of Zymomonas mobilis AX101, Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2002)

View all NREL Publications for Yat-Chen Chou.


Xylitol Synthesis Mutant of Xylose-Utilizing Zymomonas for Ethanol Production, U.S. Patent No. 7,741,119 (2010)

Ethanol Production Using Xylitol Synthesis Mutant of Xylose-Utilizing Zymomonas, U.S. Patent No. 7,741,084 (2010)

Method of Inactivation of an End Product of Energy Metabolism in Zymomonas mobilis, U.S. Patent No. 7,374,939 (2008)

Superactive Cellulase Formulation Using Cellobiohydrolase-1 from Penicillium funiculosum, U.S. Patent No. 7,449,550 (2008)

Stable Zymomonas mobilis Xylose and Arabinose Fermenting Strains, U.S. Patent No. 7,354,755 (2008)

Zymomonas Pentose-Sugar Fermenting Strains and Uses Thereof, U.S. Patent No. 7,223,575 (2007)

Method for Increasing Thermostability in Cellulase Enzymes, U.S. Patent No. 5,712,142 (1998)

Single Zymomonas mobilis Strain for Xylose and Arabinose Fermentation, U.S. Patent No. 5,843,760 (1998)