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Biofuels company KiOR funds Alcorn’s School of Arts and Sciences proposal

Alcorn State, Miss. (June 19, 2013) - Alcorn State University’s School of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce that a proposal made to KiOR, the Houston based biofuels company, as part of the second phase of a project between KiOR, the Mississippi Development Authority, and Alcorn, has been funded for the fiscal year 2013. It is a million dollar project divided in four years, or $250,000 per year.

The award will provide funds for four sub-projects to operate under the auspices of Dr. Norris A. Edney, the School’s acting dean, who serves as principal investigator, and Dr. Keith McGee, associate professor of biology and director of Biotechnology Program, who serves as coordinator.

The award is divided into four subprojects led by teams of researchers within the School of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Excellence in Biotechnology. All four projects revolve around alternative protocols for pre or post processing cellulosic feed stocks for use in KiOR facilities for production of biofuels.

Team lead for subproject 1 “Evaluation of pretreatment strategies for cellulosic feed stock in the production of biofuels” was assigned to Dr. McGee, who will work with Dr. Davida Crossley to identify fungal specific genes involved in cellulase production. Sub-project 2 “Evaluation of a plant viral gene expression platform for disease resistance, and protein expression studies” will be executed by Dr. Chunquan Zhang and Dr. McGee. Sub-project 3 “Absorbents for removal of unwanted by-products” will be directed by Dr. Yolanda Jones and Dr. Sandra Barnes. Sub-project 4 “KIOR Scholar’s research opportunity” will be lead by Dr. Voletta Williams and Mr. Leroy Johnson, and will place four of Alcorn’s brightest students in internships in KiOr’s Pasadena, Texas, processing facility for the summer of 2013.