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Photo of Venkat Subramanian

Venkataramanan Subramanian

Researcher IV-Molecular Biology | 303-384-7719

Research Interests

  • Algal biofuels (hydrogen and biodiesel)

    • Understanding the role of ferredoxins in green algae
    • Characterizing metabolic pathways leading to biofuel production in green algae

    • Genetic engineering of algae to improve their harvesting properties to reduce the cost of algal harvesting from open-pond bioreactors for commercial-scale biofuel/biodiesel production

    • Screening new algal strains with improved lipid accumulation properties

  • Yeast and fungal biotechnology

    • Studying fungal genomes

    • Developing biotechnologically relevant fungal enzymes

    • Genetic engineering of microorganisms for the production of high-value chemicals

Affiliated Research Programs

Venkat Subramanian's research has encompassed varied biofuel-related areas that include second-generation/advanced biofuels (bioethanol from biomass) and third-generation biofuels (hydrogen and biodiesel). He is currently investigating the following research areas at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL):

  • Improving genetic tractability of algal strains for biofuel production

  • Development of a yeast-based screening technique for the identification of novel high-catalytic cellulose-degrading enzymes

  • Development of Trichoderma reesei as a fungal cellulase expression host system

  • Improving butanediol production in bacterial systems

  • Development of yeast for production of biofuels and bioproducts

Areas of Expertise

  • Molecular biology and biotechnology

    • Eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems

  • Biofuels

    • Algae: Hydrogen and biodiesel

    • Yeast and fungi: Bioethanol and drop-in fuels

  • Omics technologies

    • Proteomics, metabolomics, and transcriptomics


  • Ph.D., Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Cincinnati, 2008

  • M.S., Molecular Biology, University of Southern Mississippi, 2002

  • M.Sc., Microbiology, University of Mumbai, India, 1997

  • B.Sc., Microbiology, University of Mumbai, India, 1995

Professional Experience

  • Research Scientist, NREL, Biosciences Center, Fungal Enzyme Engineering, Expression, and Optimization Research and Development (R&D), 2015present

  • Research Scientist, NREL, Biosciences Center, Algal Biofuels—Hydrogen and Biodiesel R&D, 2011present

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, NREL, Biosciences Center, Photobiology Group, and Colorado School of Mines, Photobiological H2 Production R&D (Omics Technologies), 20082011

Featured Publications

  1. "A versatile 2A peptide-based bicistronic protein expression platform for the industrial cellulase producing fungus, Trichoderma reesei," Biotechnol Biofuels (2017)

  2. "Profiling Chlamydomonas metabolism under dark, anoxic H2-producing conditions using a combined proteomic, transcriptomic and metabolomics approach," Journal of Proteome Research (2014)

  3. "Metabolic Pathways in Green Algae with Potential Value for Biofuel Production," in The Science of Algal Fuels: Phycology, Geology, Biophotonics, Genomics and Nanotechnology (2012)

Diagram that shows a pathway starting with Carbon fixation (number 1) to starch to glucose to gly-3-PO4 to PEP to pyruvate to acetyl-CoA to fatty acyl-ACTP then to three possibilities: Fatty acids, Alkanes or Alkenese, and Triacylglycerides (TAG). Second and third pathways, DXP pathway (number 2) and MEP pathway (number 3), branch off to Isoprenoids, Hydrocarbons, Alkanes, Alkenes, Alcohols, and Lipids. A fourth pathway (number 4) leads to H2 and is through Hydrogen photoproduction pathways. A fifth pathway is Dark fermentation pathway (number 5) that leads to H2. The sixth, seventh and eighth pathways branch off of fatty acyl-ACP and number 6 leads to Fatty acids, number 7 leads to Alkanes or Alkenes, and number 8 leads to Triacylglycerides (TAG).

Additional Publications

  1. "Expression of a clostridial [FeFe]-hydrogenase in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii prolongs photo-production of hydrogen from water splitting," Algal Res (2017)

  2. "Omics advances of biosynthetic pathways of isoprenoid production in microalgae," Marine OMICS: Principles and Applications (2016)

  3. "A Comparative Genomic Analysis of the Oxidative Enzymes Potentially Involved in Lignin Degradation by Agaricus bisporus," Fungal Genetics and Biology (2013)

  4. "Altered Fermentative Metabolism in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Mutants Lacking Pyruvate Formate Lyase and Both Pyruvate Formate Lyase and Alcohol Dehydrogenase," Plant Cell (2012)

  5. "A Mutant in the ADH1 Gene of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Elicits Metabolic Restructuring During Anaerobiosis," Plant Physiology (2012)

  6. "Genome Sequence of the Button Mushroom Agaricus bisporus Reveals Mechanisms Governing Adaptation to a Humic-Rich Ecological Niche," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2012)

  7. "Improving Biofuel Production in Phototrophic Microorganisms with Systems Biology," Biofuels (2011)

  8. "Multiple Facets of Anoxic Metabolism and Hydrogen Production in the Unicellular Green Alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii," New Phytologist (2011)

  9. "Genome-to-Function Characterization of Novel Fungal P450 Monooxygenases Oxidizing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs)," Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (2010)

  10. "P450 Electron Transfer Proteins in the White Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium: Gene Transcription, Heterologous Expression, and Activity Analysis of the Expressed Proteins," Current Microbiology (2010)

  11. "Role of P450 Monooxygenases in the Degradation of the Endocrine Disrupting Chemical Nonylphenol by the White Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium," Applied Environmental Microbiology (2009)

  12. "Immunoproteomic Identification of Secretory and Subcellular Protein Antigens and Functional Evaluation of the Secretome Fraction of Mycobacterium immunogenum, A Newly Recognized Species of the Mycobacterium chelonae-Mycobacterium abscessus Group," Journal of Proteome Research (2009)

  13. "Genome, Transcriptome, and Secretome Analysis of Wood Decay Fungus Postia placenta Supports Unique Mechanisms of Lignocellulose Conversion," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2009)

  14. "Regulation and Heterologous Expression of P450 Enzyme System Components of the White Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium," Enzyme and Microbial Technology (2008)

  15. "P450ome of the White Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium: Structure, Evolution and Regulation of Expression of Genomic P450 Clusters," Biochemical Society Transactions (2006)

  16. "Physiological Regulation, Xenobiotic Induction, and Heterologous Expression of P450 Monooxygenase Gene pc-3 (CYP63A3), a New Member of the CYP63 Gene Cluster in the White-Rot Fungus Phanerochaete chrysosporium," Current Microbiology (2005)

View all NREL Publications for Venkat Subramanian.