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News From Goodell's lab

Nov. 7, 2014 – By Barry Goodell


Dr. Yuichiro Otsuka's farewell The farewell party for Dr. Otsuka and his family at the Goodell home in Blacksburg, with Dr. Goodell’s lab group and their families. The party also welcomed and celebrated new additions to the lab, Ms. Liangpeng Zhuang from Northwest F&A University, China, and Mr. Yuan Zhu from Beijing Forestry University also from China.

Farewell to Dr. Otsuka and Welcome to two others: At the end of September 2014, the Goodell lab group bid farewell to Dr. Yuichiro Otsuka and his family. Dr. Otsuka is a visiting scientist from the Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute in Japan and he has worked for the last year on sabbatical leave with Barry Goodell. In that time, Yuichiro has made great progress in finding improved methods for converting waste lignin from kraft and sulphite pulps in useful monomers for bioplastics. Otsuka, in cooperation with Goodell’s group and Dr. Tomonori Sonoki, a visiting Professor on a sabbatical leave with Goodell, and also from Japan, are working with engineered organisms that have the capability to metabolize virtually all of the aromatic compounds from a unrefined fraction of kraft black liquor. This represents a breakthrough in the way that novel platform compounds from lignocellulose residues can be used. The group will continue collaboration with Otsuka in Japan, and have already written a Department of Energy grant to help continue the research. Both Yuichiro and Tomonori have also contributed greatly to helping students in the lab work on their projects with new ideas and techniques.

In other news from the Goodell lab: Barry spent part of June lecturing and working with students and researchers in Professor Holger Militz’s group at Georg August University in Göttingen, Germany; and he thanks Professor Militz, Dr. Gerhard Buettner, and many others for their hospitality while he was in the beautiful city of Göttingen. This past summer Goodell also traveled to Zvolen, Slovakia, and Sopron, Hungary as part of the Society of Wood Science and Technology meetings; presenting a paper and co-Chairing a session at those meetings with Dr. Alfred Teischinger.


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