Scott Banta

Scott Banta


Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

+1 212-854-7531

Protein engineering involves the modification of proteins and peptides in order to produce new molecules with novel traits or functions. Metabolic engineering refers to the characterization and improvement of networks of enzymes to obtain desired new goals. And research in Synthetic Biology aims to design and create non-natural biological systems. These pursuits can be used to bring about new solutions to problems in biotechnology, nanotechnology, biomedical engineering, bioprocess engineering, environmental applications, and bioenergy research.

Research in the Banta Lab has several areas of focus. The lab has been engineering a unique beta-roll peptide sequence that can transition from an unfolded-state to a folded-state upon addition of calcium. This leads to a variety of useful applications including protein hydrogel formation, protein purification, and more recently, biomolecular recognition. In another protein engineering project, his group has engineered just about every aspect of a thermostable alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme including, cofactor specificity, substrate specificity, activity with non-natural cofactors, self-assembly, and binding of non-natural molecules. His lab also works on the development of new protein/protein and protein/nanomaterial interactions for multi-modal and multi-step catalytic processes, with the goal of engineering substrate channeling between active sites. He has an ongoing interest in developing strategies to create biochemicals from CO2 using renewable electricity (electrofuels) or from industrial process streams. He recently started a company, Ironic Chemicals LLC, with Professor Alan West in chemical engineering to create biofuels using copper mining waste.