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Kevin Solomon

"At any scale, whether you want to work on microchips, biological cells, or rocket ships; and whatever the industry, whether it's in electronics, pharmaceuticals or even finance; a chemical engineer is there. I like the opportunities that ChemE offers, and the diversity of applications within and outside the traditional boundaries of the field."

 

Kevin Solomon MSCEP '08/PhD candidate '11

I'm very much interested in the development of green chemistry. As we exhaust typical feedstocks used to generate the world we live in today, we'll have to turn to alternatives to maintain our current standard of living. One exciting alternative is microbes, tenacious little bugs with an ability to synthesize a wide variety of compounds, including biofuels, pharmaceuticals, food additives, and biopolymers.

My primary research areas are Metabolic Engineering and Synthetic Biology. Metabolic engineering is the science of essentially "rewiring" and sometimes completely re-engineering metabolic pathways in microbes for more economical chemical production. Synthetic biology, in contrast, is the developing and more general discipline of the application of systematic engineering methodology to biology. My specific research project centers on developing metabolite "valves" to redirect metabolite flux and improve yield in production pathways. I hope to achieve this in a manner that conforms to and perhaps advances the field of synthetic biology.

Ultimately, I hope to return to my native Canada and work in academia. However, after my experience at Practice School, I am also increasingly considering consulting. As Professor Andrew Hrymak taught me, a career in academic can and frequently does go far beyond teaching and research, including consulting and policy work. Whatever I choose, I feel confident that my experience in ChemE will equip me for a successful and fulfilling career.