Syed Shams Yazdani

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Syed Shams Yazdani – PhD
Group Leader- Microbial Engineering, Integrative Biology group
Coordinator- DBT-ICGEB Centre for Advanced Bioenery Research
International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
Aruna Asaf Ali Marg,110 067 New Delhi, India.
E-mail: shams@icgeb.res.in

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Research Interests
Metabolic engineering, cellulolytic enzymes, biofuels.

Education
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, PhD (Biotechnology), 2000
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, MSc (Biotechnology), 1994
Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India, BSc (Hons) Chemistry, 1992

Career History
Since 2012, Coordinator of the DBT-ICGEB Centre for Advanced Bioenery Research, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, India
Since 2011, Group Leader, Synthetic Biology and Biofuel Group, ICGEB, New Delhi
2007-2008, Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Rice University, Houston, USA
2003-2010, Staff Research Scientist, Malaria Group, ICGEB, New Delhi
1999-2003, Research Scientist, Malaria Group, ICGEB, New Delhi

Scientific Activity
In our effort to develop cost effective process to produce second generation biofuels, we are isolating novel enzymes with higher specificities towards cellulosic biomass. We have identified novel cellulase and xylanase enzymes from bacteria isolated from mid-gut of insects living on agricultural biomass and overexpressed them in E. coli for use in saccharification process. Based on structural modelling, we have synthesized two chimeric bifuctional enzymes, one with the fusion between endocellulase and xylanase and second with the fusion between endocellulase and beta-glucosidase. Both these bifuctional enzymes were shown to be equal or more effective than their individual counterparts. We are now developing processes to produce these enzymes in the bioreators and testing their stability and activity at pilot scale.

We discovered sometime back a pathway in Escherichia coli that enables this organism to produce bio-ethanol from crude glycerol generated as waste from biodiesel industry. This work was performed in collaboration with Rice University, Houston, Texas. Further metabolic engineering of E. coli was done to enhance the yield of bioethanol. We are now working on production of bioethanol from pretreated lignocellulosic biomass with the help of metabolic engineering and system biology approaches to bring down costs. We are secreting various cellulytic enzymes in E. coli to enable it to utilize pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. In order to produce high level of ethanol using metabolic engineering tools, we are engineering E. coli to enhance bioethanol yield by blocking side pathways that produce competing co-products and by providing an alternate pathway that can fulfil NADH requirement for homo-ethanol production. In addition, we have identified few natural bacteria from guts of insect (living on plants) that degrade lignocellulosic biomass with high efficiency and are exploring the possibility of engineering these bacteria to produce bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. The development of an integrated biocatalyst that can perform both functions, i.e., conversion of complex cellulose and hemicellulose into monomeric sugar molecules and fermentation of monomeric sugar into biothanol, is likely to bring down the production cost of lignocellulosic ethanol considerably. We are also engineering a laboratory bacterium that can produce butanol, an alcohol that has properties closer to natural petroleum, from agricultural biomass.

Research Description
Discovery and design of novel enzymes and enzyme systems for biofuelsIn our effort to develop cost effective process to produce second generation biofuels, we are isolating novel enzymes with higher specificities towards cellulosic biomass. We have identified novel cellulase and xylanase enzymes from bacteria isolated from mid-gut of insects living on agricultural biomass and overexpressed them in E. coli for use in saccharification process. Based on structural modelling, we have synthesized two chimeric bifuctional enzymes, one with the fusion between endocellulase and xylanase and second with the fusion between endocellulase and beta-glucosidase. Both these bifuctional enzymes were shown to be equal or more effective than their individual counterparts. We are now developing metagenomic, metatranscriptomic and metaproteomic techniques to identify new cellulolytic enzymes from gut microbes.

Engineering bacteria to produce biofuel We are working on production of bioethanol from pre-treated lignocellulosic biomass with the help of metabolic engineering and system biology approaches to bring down costs. We are secreting various cellulytic enzymes in E. coli to enable it to utilize pretreated lignocellulosic biomass. In order to produce high level of ethanol using metabolic engineering tools, we are engineering E. coli to enhance bioethanol yield by blocking side pathways that produce competing co-products and by providing an alternate pathway that can fulfil NADH requirement for homo-ethanol production. By optimizing the expression of native pathway and without using any foreign gene, we show production of ethanol with high yield and productivity. In addition, we have identified few natural bacteria from guts of insect (living on plants) that degrade lignocellulosic biomass with high efficiency and are exploring the possibility of engineering these bacteria to produce bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. The development of an integrated biocatalyst that can perform both functions, i.e., conversion of complex cellulose and hemicellulose into monomeric sugar molecules and fermentation of monomeric sugar into biothanol, is likely to bring down the production cost of lignocellulosic ethanol considerably. We are also engineering laboratory bacteria that can produce butanol and alkane/alkene from agricultural biomass.

Publications
Ogunmolu FE, Jagadeesha NB, Kumar R, Kumar P, Gupta D, Yazdani SS. (2017) Comparative insights into the saccharification potentials of a relatively unexplored but robust Penicillium funiculosum glycoside hydrolase 7 cellobiohydrolase. Biotechnology and Biofuels doi: 10.1186/s13068-017-0752 Link

Jawed K, Mattam AJ, Fatma Z, Wajid S, Abdin MZ, Yazdani SS (2017) Engineered Production of Short Chain Fatty Acid in Escherichia coli Using Fatty Acid Synthesis Pathway. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371 / journal. pone. 0160035. eCollection 2016.Link

Fatma, Z., Jawed, K., Mattam, A.J, and Yazdani, S.S (2016) Identification of long chain specific aldehyde reductase and its use in enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Metabolic Engineering 37:35–45 PubMed link

Chitnis CE, Mukherjee P, Mehta S, Yazdani SS, Dhawan S, Shakri AR, Bharadwaj R, Gupta PK, Hans D, Mazumdar S, Singh B, Kumar S, Pandey G, Parulekar V, Imbault N, Shivyogi P, Godbole G, Mohan K, Leroy O, Singh K, Chauhan VS. (2015) Phase I Clinical Trial of a Recombinant Blood Stage Vaccine Candidate for Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Based on MSP1 and EBA175. PLoS One. 2015 Apr 30;10(4):e0117820 PubMed link

Shakeel T, Fatma Z, Fatma T, Yazdani SS. (2015) Heterogeneity of alkane chain length in freshwater and marine cyanobacteria. Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 16;3:34. PubMed link

Munjal N, Jawed K, Wajid S, Yazdani SS. (2015) A Constitutive Expression System for Cellulase Secretion in Escherichia coli and Its Use in Bioethanol Production. PLoS One 10(3):e0119917. PubMed link

Adlakha, N., Yazdani, S.S. (2015) Efficient production of (R,R)-2,3-butanediol fromcellulosic hydrolysate using Paenibacillus polymyxa ICGEB2008. Journal of Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 42, 21-8. PubMed link

Patents

1. 4260/DEL/2015 Method for enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Inventor(s), Yazdani SS, Fatma, Z
2. WO2014033759A1 Method for enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Inventor(s), Yazdani SS, Fatma, Z
3. CN104838005A Method for enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Inventor(s), Yazdani SS, Fatma, Z
4. US2014424037A Method for enhanced fatty alcohol production in E. coli. Inventor(s), Yazdani SS, Fatma, Z
5. 1714/DEL/2015 A method for obtaining a composition for biomass hydrolysis. Inventor(s) Yazdani SS, Funso E
6. 2651/DEL/2013 Engineering E.coli strain for conversion of short chain fatty aids to bioalcohols. Inventor(s), Yazdani, S.S., Mattam, A.J.
7. 2695/DEL/2012 Novel cellulolytic enzymes and their chimera for hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass. Inventor(s),Yazdani SS, Adlakha N.
8. 2696/DEL/2012 Modified bacteria for the production of bioalcohols Inventor(s), Yazdani, S.S., Munjal, N., Mattam, A.J.
9. WO2017006352A2 A method for obtaining a composition for biomass hydrolysis. Inventor(s), Yazdani SS, Funso E

Group members

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Anmol – PhD

Research Associate
E-mail : anmolwareh@gmail.com.
Hobby: Capturing memorable moments in writings and poems.
Area of work: Fungal Expression Systems.
We are exploring different ways & playing with different vector backgrounds, promoters and transformation systems to increase cellulolytic enzymes expression in fungi.

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Rahul Singh – PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate
E-mail : rsingh668@gmail.com.
Hobby: Travelling.
Area of work: Lignocellulosic ethanol production.
My objective is to minimize the cost of bio-ethanol production from the rice straw. This can be done by using efficient and cost effective enzyme in the biomass scarification.

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Zia Fatma – M.sc (Biotechnology), PhD

Research Associate
E-mail : zia@icgeb.res.in.
Hobby: Exploring new places and its culture, Connecting new people, Multicuisine cooking, Outdoor games and many more.
Area of work: Metabolic Engineering of microbial host for Hydrocarbon production (Alcohols and Alkane/=en).
Currently working on “assembly and optimization of Hydrocarbon Biosynthesis Pathway in microbial host”.

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Syed Bilal Jilani -M.Sc.(Biochemistry & Environmental Sciences)

Junior Research Fellow
E-mail : sbjilani@icgeb.res.in.
Hobby: Being outdoors, occasionally cooking food and reading non-fiction.
Area of work: Ethanologenic microbes, hydrolysate inhibition, stress biology.
My goal is to identify key metabolic processes which when engineered into ethanologenic microbial strains shall result in relatively higher yield of industrially important metabolic products in presence of stressors across different biomass hydrolysate samples.

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Nandita Pasari – BSc. Biochemistry(hons.),MSc. Biotechnology

PhD Student
E-mail : nandita@icgeb.res.in
Hobby: I have been learning classical dance form Kathak for several years.
Area of work: Fungal and Molecular Biology.
Currently, I am working on ‘Development of fungal expression system for overexpression of novel cellulolytic enzymes’. To develop such a system we are trying to understand some basic biochemistry of the fungus by genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches which will eventually help us in identifying components involved in cellulose regulation.

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Ogunmolu Funso Emmanuel -M.Tech, PhD

Research Associate
E-mail : funso@icgeb.res.in.
Hobby: Learning new things, DIY and listening to good music.
Area of work: Discovery and Design of Novel Cellulolytic Enzymes for improved Lignocellulosic Biomass Hydrolysis.
My current project is centered on the bio-prospecting for novel fungal enzymes associated with improved hydrolysis of plant biomass.

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Kamran Jawed – M.Sc. Biotechnology

Graduate Student
E-mail : kamran@icgeb.res.in.
Hobby: Watching tennis, playing badminton.
Area of work: Microbial Metabolic Engineering.
Engineering of gut bacterium E. coli to interrupt native fatty acid synthesis pathway that turns fatty acids into cell membranes and instead channel it toward the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs).

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Tabinda Shakeel – MSc. (Biological Sciences)

Senior Research Fellow
E-mail : tabinda2419@gmail.com.
Hobby: Restoring and reliving the visions of my peregrinations in the form of paintings and poetry.
Area of work: Genetic characterization of alkane biosynthesis pathway.
My research work is centered around screening of cyanobacterial isolates for hydrocarbon production and further biochemical and genetic characterization of the pathway enzymes.

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