Brandon Curtis ( )

Sep 2006 - Aug 2011

Bachelor of Science, Chemical Engineering
Option: Bioprocessing and Biomolecular Engineering

Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Option: Analytical Biochemistry

Schreyer Honors College Scholar
“Heterologous Membrane Protein Expression in Rhodobacter

2011 - Present

Graduate Student, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Joint BioEnergy Institute
Dr. Jay Keasling - Synthetic Cellular Regulatory Networks

Lam Research Fellow in Plasma Science and Engineering
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

Dr. David Graves - Atmospheric Plasma Diagnostics and Control

I started spending time around the lab in 1996, when I joined as a dishwasher.  Over the next ten summers, I graduated from cleaning glassware and preparing growth media and stock solutions to assisting with plant tissue culture and experimental execution.  I assembled pig blood agitators, fake roots, and a thousand other contraptions, and collected data for too many different projects to remember.

My honors thesis "Development of Rhodobacter for the Production of Functional Membrane Proteins"sought to develop purple non-sulfur bacteria (Rhodobacter spp.) for the heterologous production of functional membrane proteins.  I published a thesis on this topic and received several awards for presenting the work, including first place nationally in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ student paper competition, the Phi Delta Kappa honors thesis prize, and the ChemE department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award.  My research skills greatly benefited from sharing a bench with Dr. Jeff Larsen (PhD Penn State; Dow Agro), Ben Woolston (PhD candidate MIT), and many other talented and hard-working students who came through the lab.

My membrane protein work yielded the external funding for Mustafa Erbakan’s aquaporin project.  I recognized the lithoautotrophic potential of Rhodobacter and prepared a review document that eventually became a funded ARPA-E Electrofuels proposal between CurtisLab and Dr. Joe Chappell (U Kentucky), executed by Nymul Khan.

During my tenure, I modernized the lab’s IT and moved us into the cloud with Google Apps for Education.

When I finally finished school, it was the first thing that I did,
What every townie kid dreams of: I packed and started west...

I check in on the lab a couple times a month to provide IT support and yell at people who break things.

|BC| on YouTube - More Art Than Science

Brandon S. Curtis, Wayne R. Curtis Bioprocess Development for Functional Membrane Protein Expression in Rhodobacter: Kinetics and Photo-bioreactor Design. XII National Congress of Biotechnology and Bioengineering, SMBB: Acapulco, Mexico, June 21-26, 2009. 

Brandon S. Curtis, Philip D. Laible, Deborah K. Hanson, Wayne Curtis. Development of the Photoheterotroph Rhodobacter for Functional Membrane Protein Expression. AIChE Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, Nov. 19, 2008.