Biotechnology and Biomaterials

Biotechnology, Biofuels, Biochemicals, Biomaterials, Pharmaceuticals and More

The number of products and the amount of energy derived from biological sources is growing every day. This is due to the the many possibilities of bioproduct and bioenergy applications as well as the renewable and sustainable opportunities that bioproducts and bioenergy impart.

There are many bioproduct and bioenergy applications from all three of the areas of research. Examples such as spray-drying Cross-Linked Alginate Microcapsules, the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester (READ) facility, and the treatment of waste water using microalgae are just a few of the many projects and research occurring here at UC Davis.

Microencapsulation and Spray-Drying

CLAM Jeoh Strobel UC Davis Biological and Agricultural EngineeringMicroencapsulation is the process of putting a shell, at the microscopic level, around a solid, liquid, or gas. Microencapsulation offers a number of benefits. Once a material is coated, it is resistant to deterioration, able to mask undesirable flavors and odors, improve handling and transportation, and more.

Here at UC Davis, researchers discovered a new way to microencapsulate materials using an alginate coating and spray-drying. In the process developed by BAE Associate Professor Dr. Tina Jeoh, postdoctoral scholar Dr. Scott Strobel and other researchers, a microencapsulation process that previously took multiple steps, has been condensed into one step. This streamlined approach will help make microencapsulation easier and more cost effective.

Renewable Anaerobic Energy Digester

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2013, Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash and recycled and composted about 87 million tons of this material, equivalent to a 34.3 percent recycling rate. On average, we recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of our individual waste generation of 4.40 pounds per person per day, some of which is organic waste.

Where most people see a problem, Dr. Ruihong Zhang saw an opportunity. What if we could turn the organic waste into energy?

In a partnership with CleanWorld, Dr. Zhang helped develop the Renewable Energy Anaerobic Digester which does just that.


Biotechnology and Biotech Mike Chan Biological and Agricultureal Engineering UC Davis

Alumni Spotlight

Mike Chan

I can sum up how Davis prepared me for my career in two words: problem solving.

Mike graduated in 2000 with a master's degree in Biological Systems Engineering. After starting out as a Project Engineer at General Mills, in 2002, Mike moved on to Genentech.

At Genentech, Mike climbed from Controls Engineer to Senior Supervisor and eventually to Senior Manager of Drug Substance Manufacturing Science and Technology.

As Senior Manager, Mike leads a team of more than 20 engineers and managers.

In 2012, Mike re-joined the department in a leadership role on the department's Leadership Board and is currently the chair of the board.