Emmanuel Mintah, ’21, Chemical and Biological Engineering

My internship focused on engineering the metabolism of yeast cells to produce plant-derived chemicals necessary for pharmaceuticals. The manufacturing of plant-derived natural products is essential for a wide class of medicinal drugs, but current methods are not environmentally sustainable. Manufacturing these plant-derived natural products in yeast cells is a sustainable way to create drugs. The goal of my project was to transform yeast cells that produce 8-hydroxygeraniol, a chemical precursor to many plant-derived pharmaceuticals. I designed genes that would allow for the production of the P450 enzyme 8-hydroxylase and its reaction partners in yeast cells. Then I transformed these genes into yeast containing metabolic clustering systems that would allow the P450 enzymes to complete the oxidation reaction necessary to produce 8-hydroxygeraniol. Through this internship, I gained valuable lab experience that led me to decide that I want to pursue a graduate degree in chemical and biological engineering.

* This internship is connected to the PEI Water and the Environment Grand Challenges project,“Diffusiophoresis of Control of Particles in Water Systems.”