Dr. Weilan Shao holds a Master degree in Plant Disease and a Ph.D. degree in Microbiology. She has participated in the field of the thermophilic degradation and fermentation of lignocellulosic biomass since her PhD study (1990-1993) in the University of Georgia, USA. Dr. Shao has worked as a distinguished professor in Jiangnan University, Nanjing normal University and Jiangsu University in China. Her research mission is to develop feasible and economic effective approaches for renewable bioenergy processing by using molecular biotechnology. Dr. Shao and her group have discovered a series of novel lignocellulases, the key aldehyde dehydrogenase for ethanol formation, the repressor/operator system coupling glycolysis and fermentation pathways, and the regulation mechanism of thermophilic ethanol fermentation. Dr Shao also invents new techniques for industrial enzyme production and modification, which include pHsh gene expression system (US patent), in situ gene random mutagenesis (CN patent; US patent), high production of thermostable laccase (CN patent), soluble expression of aggregation-pron enzymes, and gfa selection marker for the bio-safety of gene transfer in microbes.
Her current research is mainly focused on the metabolic engineering of extreme thermophiles for cellulosic ethanol fermentation, the development of novel gene expression and evolution techniques for an efficient industrial enzyme production, and the exploration and construction of highly active and thermostable enzymes for the biodegradation of lignocelluloses.