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NCERC Adds Post-Doctoral Fellow to Research Team

News Release
Contact: Courtney Breckenridge
cbreckenridge@ethanolresearch.com
Office: 618-659-6737 ext. 230

Arun Athmanathan

EDWARDSVILLE – The NCERC at SIUE is expanding its research team with the addition of Dr. Arun Athmanathan, a postdoctoral fellow specializing in cellulosic and advanced biofuels research.

“Following a national search that generated candidates from premier research institutions across the country, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Athmanathan to the team,” NCERC Director John Caupert said. “Arun’s expertise in cellulosic biofuels research and his studies under biofuels pioneers like Nathan Mosier, Mike Ladisch and Nancy Ho make him an excellent complement to our research division.”

Arun has a broad range of experiences in the characterization and fermentation of many cellulosic and advanced feedstocks, including corn stover and sweet sorghum bagasse, likely feedstocks that the NCERC research team will explore. He received his MS and PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Purdue University’s acclaimed agriculture school.

The Illinois Corn Marketing Board and SIUE partnered to provide seed funding for NCERC’s postdoctoral fellowship program following the Center’s recent breakthroughs in corn kernel fiber conversion and feedstock characterization. Arun and an additional postdoctoral fellow will work under Research Director Dr. Sabrina Trupia to extend upon the Center’s existing research and identify new areas of study.

“The NCERC continues to be an incredible asset to public and private researchers and the biofuels industry as a whole,” ICMB Chairman and Okawville farmer Larry Hasheider said. “From accelerating the commercialization of new technologies to increasing production efficiency and developing value-added coproducts, the NCERC has defined the cutting edge of the biofuels research for more than a decade. We believe this investment will yield tremendous dividends for the biofuels and agriculture industries through continued research breakthroughs.”

In addition to the postdoctoral fellows, the NCERC is also expanding its research capabilities through a new faculty fellowship program. University faculty can apply for course-buyouts in order to conduct collaborative research with the Center.

“We have already received tremendous interest from the University community in partnering on research projects,” Trupia said. “From biology to chemistry to economics and history, the response from SIUE faculty has been very exciting. I encourage interested researchers in any department to continue contacting us with research proposals and to learn more about our capabilities at the Center.”

The Center is currently engaged in a search for a second postdoctoral fellow. That position is expected to be filled in early 2014.



About the NCERC
The NCERC at SIUE is a nationally recognized research center dedicated to the development and commercialization of biofuels, specialty chemicals and other renewable compounds. The Center’s fully functional dry grind pilot plant and laboratories are equipped with advanced biofuels capabilities including corn fractionation, pretreatment, and a fermentation suite with 5, 30, 150 and 1500L scale-up. Facilities are staffed by industry veterans with more than 100 years of collective experience in fermentation and biofuels production. This knowledgeable team has the flexibility and expertise to design and carry out projects in any region of the advanced biofuels or specialty chemicals space.  For more information, contact Courtney Breckenridge, (618) 659-6737 ext. 230, cbreckenridge@ethanolresearch.com, or visit http://www.ethanolresearch.com.

About SIUE
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) is a nationally recognized university dedicated to educating and developing professional and community leaders through its excellent faculty and academic programs. With a student-to-teacher ratio of 17-to-1, SIUE offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the lowest tuition of all 12 state universities in Illinois. The emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. In fall 2011, SIUE reached the largest overall enrollment in the history of the University with 14,235 students. In fiscal year 2011, SIUE faculty and staff received more than $34 million in grants and contracts for research, teaching and service initiatives. Only 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River's rich bottom land. SIUE has been shaping the future in the St. Louis Metro Area since 1957, offering quality undergraduate and graduate programs combined with a solid commitment to the economic development of Southwestern Illinois.

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