Shishir Chundawat

Assistant Professor

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Website: Research Webpage

Research Interests

Research in our group is focused broadly on understanding the biosynthesis, chemical processing, ultrastructural/molecular organization and enzymatic deconstruction of glycans (i.e., carbohydrates), glycan-based macromolecules (e.g., glycoproteins), and glycan-enriched biomaterials (e.g., plant cell walls).Glycans are compounds composed of monosaccharides linked together by glycosidic bonds. These compounds are one of the primary macromolecules produced by living systems that serve critical structural (e.g., cell wall polysaccharides like cellulose, exopolysaccharides present within biofilm matrices) and functional (e.g., cellular recognition and intra-cellular signaling) roles. The ubiquitous nature of glycans can be gaged by its diverse roles in the biological world ranging from inter-/intra-cellular interactions to the capture of solar energy by plant cells as carbohydrates. However, despite significant advances in the genomics and proteomics fields that have improved scientific understanding and engineering of cellular systems, research in glycosciences has lagged behind. This is unfortunate considering that advances in glycosciences can make tremendous contributions to diverse fields such as bioenergy, healthcare, and advanced biomaterials. Research in our group is therefore geared towards addressing open-problems in the highly inter-disciplinary field of glyco-sciences and glyco-engineering. Towards that goal, research projects are organized into three key areas, as highlighted below;


  1. Biomass Process Engineering
  2. Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme (CAZyme) Engineering
  3. Glyco-Engineering

Selected Publications

  1. Whitehead TA*, Bandi CK, Berger M, Park J, Chundawat SPS*. Negatively Supercharging Cellulases Render Them Lignin-Resistant. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2017, 5, 7, 6247-52. (Journal Cover Article)
  1. Chundawat SPS*, Paavola CD, Raman B, Nouailler M, Chan SL, Mielenz JR, Brechot VR, Trent JD, Dale BE. Saccharification of thermochemically pretreated cellulosic biomass using native and engineered cellulosomal enzyme systems. Reaction Chemistry and Engineering 2016, 1, 6, 616-628. (Journal Cover Article)
  1. Sousa L*, Bals B, Jin M, Chundawat SPS, Bokade V, Tang X, Azarpira A, Lu F, Avci U, Humpula J, Uppugundla N, Gunawan C, Pattathil S, Cheh A, Kothari N, Kumar R, Ralph J, Hahn MG, Wyman CE, Singh S, Simmons BA, Dale BE*, Balan V*. Next-generation ammonia pretreatment enhances cellulosic biofuel production. Energy and Environmental Science 2016, 9, 1215-1223.
  1. Brady S, Sarangapani S, Feng Y, Chundawat SPS, Lang MJ*. Cellobiohydrolase 1 from Trichoderma reesei degrades cellulose in single cellobiose steps. Nature Communications, 2015; 6:10149.
  1. Gao D, Chundawat SPS*, Sethi A, Gnanakaran S, Balan V, Dale BE. Increased enzyme binding to substrate is not necessary for more efficient cellulose hydrolysis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 2013, 110 (27), 10922-10927.
  1. Lau M*, Bals B, Chundawat SPS, Jin M, Gunawan C, Jones AD, Balan V, Dale BE. An integrated paradigm for cellulosic biorefineries: Utilization of lignocellulosic biomass as self-sufficient feedstocks for fuel, food precursors and saccharolytic enzyme production. Energy and Environmental Science 2012, 5:7100-7110.
  1. Parthasarathi R, Bellesia G, Chundawat SPS, Dale BE, Langan P, Gnanakaran S*. New insights into hydrogen bonding and stacking interactions in cellulose. The Journal of Physical Chemistry A 2011, 115 (49), 14191-14202. (Journal Cover Article)
  1. Chundawat SPS*, Bellesia G, Uppugundla N, Sousa L, Gao D, Cheh A, Agarwal U, Bianchetti C, Phillips G, Langan P, Balan V, Gnanakaran S*, Dale BE. Restructuring the crystalline cellulose hydrogen bond network enhances its depolymerization rate. Journal of American Chemical Society 2011, 133, 11163-11174.
  1. Chundawat SPS*, Donohoe B, Sousa LdC, Elder T, Agarwal U, Lu F, Ralph J, Himmel M, Balan V, Dale BE. Multi-scale visualization and characterization of lignocellulosic plant cell wall deconstruction during thermochemical pretreatment. Energy and Environmental Science 2011, 4(3): 973-984.
  1. Chundawat SPS*, Balan V, Dale B. High-throughput microplate technique for enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Biotechnology and Bioengineering 2008; 99(6): 1281-1294.  (Accelerated Publication)