Prof. Adrian Tsang, director of the Structural and Functional Genomics Research Center of Concordia University, visited TIB at the invitation of Professor Shulin Chen, director of the Tianjin Key Laboratory for Industrial Biological Systems and Bioprocessing Engineering of TIB, on October 28, 2013.
Prof. Tsang gave a lecture entitled "Genome-wide Approaches to Identify and Characterize Lignocellulolytic Enzymes from Fungal Extremophiles." During the lecture, Prof. Tsang introduced a new way to degrade lignocellulose in thermophilic fungi and ruminants. Lignocellulosic material is both the most abundant source of biomass on the planet and an enormous storehouse of sugars. However, the sugars in cellulosic material are remarkably recalcitrant. Therefore, the ability to detect new enzymes, produce them in large quantities, and understand how they work will lay the groundwork for the development of more efficient and economical processes for using lignocellulosic biomass. In addition to using sequence comparison to identify orthologues of lignocellulolytic enzymes, his research group has analyzed the transcriptomes and exoproteomes of thermophilic fungi when cultured in a variety of agricultural straws to reveal the strategies used by different fungi in the decomposition of lignocellulose, and has identified novel extracellular proteins that may play a role in biomass decomposition. In addition, the genes predicted to encode lignocellulolytic proteins have been cloned and transformed into Aspergillus niger for the production of recombinant enzymes.
Professor Adrian Tsang received his B.S. degree from the University of Alberta and a Ph.D. in biology from York University. He later was a postdoctoral fellow in London. Prof. Tsang served as assistant professor of biology at McGill University from 1984-1991 and at Concordia University from 1991-2002. He has engaged in research on protein production in filamentous fungi as well as functional genomics. He is currently working on the identification of effective fungal enzyme proteins to hydrolyze lignocelluloses using genomic and proteomic methods. He has made breakthroughs in the study of the functions of extreme environmental fungal extracellular proteins and fungal expression systems.