Todd Gruber Awarded Virginia Academy of Science Grant - Christopher Newport University


Todd Gruber Awarded Virginia Academy of Science Grant

Project aims to use specialized bacteria to remove plastic waste in the environment.

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Todd Gruber
Todd Gruber

The Virginia Academy of Science has awarded Dr. Todd Gruber, assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Chemistry, a grant to study innovative ways to remove plastic waste from the environment.

In particular, Gruber's project will study unusual bacteria that can eat the plastic found in water bottles. He and his student research assistants are investigating conditions that enhance this process, as well as studying whether the bacteria have preferences for plastic containers that were produced in different ways. The team will evolve the bacteria to degrade plastic faster in order to more rapidly eliminate waste.

"These bacteria are exciting because they can biodegrade a type of plastic we didn’t think was biodegradable," says Gruber. "This is very unusual biochemistry, and we’re eager to find out how these bacteria are able to do something that nothing else is able to do."

Gruber specializes in protein design. He earned his PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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