Professional Summary

  • Our research is centered on the development of cost-effective processes for producing biofuels, chemicals and biomaterials from lignocellulosic biomass. Specifically, we focus on the interface between biochemical engineering and biomass processing chemistry in an integrated biorefinery process. Our research approach is to use a combination of computational study and experimental determination to understand the molecular structure-activity relationship of biomass-derived compounds in the biochemical conversion process.


  • PhD : East China Univesity of Science and Technology, 2001
  • PhD : University of British Columbia , 2007

Research/Clinical Interests

    • Biomass Processing Chemistry
    • Biofuels and Bioenergy
    • Bioprocess Engineering
    • Yeast and Bacterial Metabolomics
    • Functional Biomaterials

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Post Graduate Training/Education
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  • NSERC Industry R&D Fellowship (Postdoctoral)
    2007-2008, FPInnovations, Paprican Division , Canada
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Positions and Work Experience
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  • 2015-to Present,Associate Professor,University of Cincinnati,Cincinnati, OH
  • 2013-2015,Assoticate Professor,Auburn University,Auburn, AL
  • 2008-2013,Assistant Professor,Auburn University,Auburn, AL
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Research Grants
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  • 2014-67022-2492507/15/2015-07/14/2016. Department of Agriculture. Nanocrystalline cellulose based piezoelectric materials for energy sustainability, PI, Awarded.
  • CBET-155563306/01/2015-02/28/2018. National Science Foundation. CAREER:Carbonyl Inhibition of Butanol Production from Biomass Hydrolysates by Clostridium acetobutylicum, PI, Awarded.
  • 2013-2015. USDA-Sun . Elucidation of feedstock-microbe interactions for butanol production from lignocellulosic biomass - Grant, PI
  • 16-MREC-205179-UC/2016-67022-2507103/01/2016-02/29/2020. Department of Agriculture. Development of Nanocellulose-based Hybrid Fuel, PI, Active.
  • CHE-172609209/01/2017-08/31/2020. National Science Foundation. NSF MRI: Acquisition of a 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer for Research and Education, Collaborator, Awarded.
  • Action Fund 1150 (see NSF CHE-1726092)09/01/2017-08/31/2020. Ohio Department of Higher Education. OBR Action Fund Request for Guan's MRI: Acquisition of a 400 MHz NMR Spectrometer for Research and Education, Collaborator, Awarded.
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Peer Reviewed Publications (in chronological order)
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  • Huang, Y., Sun, S., Huang, C., Yong, Q., Elder, T., & Tu, M. (2017). Stimulation and inhibition of enzymatic hydrolysis by organosolv lignins as determined by zeta potential and hydrophobicity.. Biotechnology For Biofuels, 10, 162. doi:10.1186/s13068-017-0853-6
  • S. Sun, Y. Huang, R. Sun, M. Tu (2016). (In Press). The strong association of condensed phenolic moieties in isolated lignins with their inhibition of enzymatic hydrolysis. Green Chemistry.
  • W. Guan, S. Shi, M. Tu, YY. Lee (2016). (In Press). Acetone–butanol–ethanol production from Kraft paper mill sludge by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation. Bioresource Technology, 200, 713-721.
  • R. Xie, M. Tu, T. Elder (2016). (In Press). Substituent Effect of Phenolic Aldehydes Inhibition on Alcoholic Fermentation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Energy & Fuel, 30, 3078-3084.
  • Sun, F. F., Bai, R., Yang, H., Wang, F., He, J., Wang, C., & Tu, M. (2016). Heterologous expression of codon optimized Trichoderma reesei Cel6A in Pichia pastoris.. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 92, 107-16. doi:10.1016/j.enzmictec.2016.07.004
  • Guan, W., Shi, S., Tu, M., & Lee, Y. Y. (2016). Acetone-butanol-ethanol production from Kraft paper mill sludge by simultaneous saccharification and fermentation.. Bioresource Technology, 200, 713-21. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2015.10.102
  • R. Xie, M. Tu*, Y. Wu (2015). (In Press). Detoxification of biomass hydrolysates with nucleophilic amino acids enhances alcoholic fermentation. Bioresource Technology, 186, 106-113.
  • C. Lai, M. Tu, Q, Yong, S. Yu (2015). (In Press). Disparate roles of solvent extractable lignin and residual bulk lignin in enzymatic hydrolysis of pretreated sweetgum. RSC Advances, 119, 97966-97974.
  • Xie, R., Tu, M., Carvin, J., & Wu, Y. (2015). Detoxification of biomass hydrolysates with nucleophilic amino acids enhances alcoholic fermentation.. Bioresource Technology, 186, 106-13. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2015.03.030
  • Li, J., Zhu, C., Tu, M., Han, P., & Wu, Y. (2015). Effect of carbonyl inhibitors and their H2O2 detoxification on lactic acid fermentation.. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 175 (8), 3657-72. doi:10.1007/s12010-015-1533-2
  • Lai, C., Tu, M., Shi, Z., Zheng, K., Olmos, L. G., & Yu, S. (2014). Contrasting effects of hardwood and softwood organosolv lignins on enzymatic hydrolysis of lignocellulose.. Bioresource Technology, 163, 320-7. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2014.04.065
  • Lai, C., Tu, M., Li, M., & Yu, S. (2014). Remarkable solvent and extractable lignin effects on enzymatic digestibility of organosolv pretreated hardwood.. Bioresource Technology, 156, 92-9. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2014.01.030
  • Cao, D., Tu, M., Xie, R., Li, J., Wu, Y., & Adhikari, S. (2014). Inhibitory activity of carbonyl compounds on alcoholic fermentation by Saccharomyces cerevisiae.. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 62 (4), 918-26. doi:10.1021/jf405711f
  • Shi, H., Zhang, Y., Xu, B., Tu, M., & Wang, F. (2014). Characterization of a novel GH2 family ?-L-arabinofuranosidase from hyperthermophilic bacterium Thermotoga thermarum.. Biotechnology Letters, 36 (6), 1321-8. doi:10.1007/s10529-014-1493-6
  • Li, M., Tu, M., Cao, D., Bass, P., & Adhikari, S. (2013). Distinct roles of residual xylan and lignin in limiting enzymatic hydrolysis of organosolv pretreated loblolly pine and sweetgum.. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61 (3), 646-54. doi:10.1021/jf304517w
  • Yang, X., Tu, M., Xie, R., Adhikari, S., & Tong, Z. (2013). A comparison of three pH control methods for revealing effects of undissociated butyric acid on specific butanol production rate in batch fermentation of Clostridium acetobutylicum.. AMB Express, 3 (1), 3. doi:10.1186/2191-0855-3-3
  • Xie, R.,Tu, M.,Wu, Y.,Taylor, S. (2012). Reducing sugars facilitated carbonyl condensation in detoxification of carbonyl aldehyde model compounds for bioethanol fermentation.. RSC Advances, 2 (20), 7699-7707.
  • Thangalazhy-Gopakumar, S., Adhikari, S., Gupta, R. B., Tu, M., & Taylor, S. (2011). Production of hydrocarbon fuels from biomass using catalytic pyrolysis under helium and hydrogen environments.. Bioresource Technology, 102 (12), 6742-9. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2011.03.104
  • Xie, R., Tu, M., Wu, Y., & Adhikari, S. (2011). Improvement in HPLC separation of acetic acid and levulinic acid in the profiling of biomass hydrolysate.. Bioresource Technology, 102 (7), 4938-42. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2011.01.050
  • Thangalazhy-Gopakumar, S., Adhikari, S., Ravindran, H., Gupta, R. B., Fasina, O., Tu, M., & Fernando, S. D. (2010). Physiochemical properties of bio-oil produced at various temperatures from pine wood using an auger reactor.. Bioresource Technology, 101 (21), 8389-95. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2010.05.040
  • Tu, M., & Saddler, J. N. (2010). Potential enzyme cost reduction with the addition of surfactant during the hydrolysis of pretreated softwood.. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 161 (1-8), 274-87. doi:10.1007/s12010-009-8869-4
  • Tu, M., Zhang, X., Paice, M., MacFarlane, P., & Saddler, J. N. (2009). The potential of enzyme recycling during the hydrolysis of a mixed softwood feedstock.. Bioresource Technology, 100 (24), 6407-15. doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2009.06.108
  • Tu, M., Pan, X., & Saddler, J. N. (2009). Adsorption of cellulase on cellulolytic enzyme lignin from lodgepole pine.. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 57 (17), 7771-8. doi:10.1021/jf901031m
  • Tu, M., Zhang, X., Paice, M., McFarlane, P., & Saddler, J. N. (2009). Effect of surfactants on separate hydrolysis fermentation and simultaneous saccharification fermentation of pretreated lodgepole pine.. Biotechnology Progress, 25 (4), 1122-9. doi:10.1002/btpr.198
  • Hutton, E. K., Saunders, C. A., Tu, M., Stoll, K., & Berkowitz, J. (2008). Factors associated with a successful external cephalic version in the early ECV trial.. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada : JOGC = Journal D'obst & #233;trique Et Gyn & #233;cologie Du Canada : JOGC, 30 (1), 23-8.
  • Tu, M., Chandra, R. P., & Saddler, J. N. (2007). Recycling cellulases during the hydrolysis of steam exploded and ethanol pretreated Lodgepole pine.. Biotechnology Progress, 23 (5), 1130-7. doi:10.1021/bp070129d
  • Tu, M., Chandra, R. P., & Saddler, J. N. (2007). Evaluating the distribution of cellulases and the recycling of free cellulases during the hydrolysis of lignocellulosic substrates.. Biotechnology Progress, 23 (2), 398-406. doi:10.1021/bp060354f
  • Tu, M., Zhang, X., Kurabi, A., Gilkes, N., Mabee, W., & Saddler, J. (2006). Immobilization of beta-glucosidase on Eupergit C for lignocellulose hydrolysis.. Biotechnology Letters, 28 (3), 151-6. doi:10.1007/s10529-005-5328-3
  • Berlin, A., Gilkes, N., Kurabi, A., Bura, R., Tu, M., Kilburn, D., & Saddler, J. (2005). Weak lignin-binding enzymes: a novel approach to improve activity of cellulases for hydrolysis of lignocellulosics.. Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 121-124, 163-70.
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Recent Awards/Honors
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  • National Science Foundation (NSF) Career award ,2013,2018
  • National Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada (NSERC) Industry R&D Fellowship Award,2007,2008
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