Richard Gross

Richard Gross

Professor, Constellation Chair

biotechnology, materials

Biocatalysis encompasses a wide platform of chemistries that afford opportunities for innovative new products and processes. Hallmarks of biocatalysts are their ability to operate under mild conditions, with impressive selectivity, on a diverse range of natural and non-natural substrates. Rapid advances in biotechnology continues to decrease the time and resources required to engineer organisms to produce desired products in high titers as well as to engineer enzymes with increased thermal stability, efficiency and specificity. Our group works with collaborators to apply existing, or develop new, biocatalytic methods that solve short or long term chemistry challenges. With sufficient focus on structure-property relationships of natural and biobased materials, they can become next-generation replacements for a wide array of currently used non-sustainable petroleum-derived materials. While most attention is focused on biomass for transportation fuels, less is paid to biomass as a source for organic chemicals including polymeric materials. This is true even though biomass-derived carbon can realistically replace most or possibly all nonfuel chemical uses, which comprise ~13% of the crude oil consumed by the U.S. today. Our program explores a wide range of opportunities for use in biobased replacements such as biobased and degradable polymers, biosurfactants, biofibers for commposite reinforcement and advanced materials opportunities such as in photovoltaic materials for energy harvesting; composite materials used, for example, in wind-blade turbines for wind energy harvesting, epoxies for circuit boards and much more.


Ph.D. Polytechnic University (Chemistry)

Selected Publications

  • Ganesh, Manoj; Nachman, Jonathan; Mao, Zhantong; Lyons, Alan; Rafailovich, Miriam; Gross, Richard A. “Patterned Enzymatic Degradation of Poly(ε-​caprolactone) by High-​Affinity Microcontact Printing and Polymer Pen Lithography” Biomacromolecules 14(8), 2470-2476 (2013).
  • Xie, Wenchun; Teraoka, Iwao; Gross, Richard A. “Reversed phase ion-pairing chromatography of an oligolysine mixture in different mobile phases: Effort of searching critical chromatography conditions” Journal of Chromatography A 1304, 127-132 (2013).
  • Celli, Annamaria; Marchese, Paola; Sullalti, Simone; Cai, Jiali; Gross, Richard A. “Aliphatic/aromatic copolyesters containing biobased ω-hydroxyfatty acids: Synthesis and structure-property relationships” Polymer, 54(15), 3774-3783 (2013).
  • Peng, Yifeng; Decatur, John; Meier, Michael A. R. and Gross, Richard A. “Ring-Opening Metathesis Polymerization of a Naturally Derived Macrocyclic Glycolipid, Macromolecules, 46(9), 3293-3300 (2013).
  • Qin, Xu; Wenchun, Xie; Tian, Sai; Yuan, Han; Yu, Zheng; Butterfoss, Glenn L.; Khuong, Anne C.; Gross, Richard A. “Enzyme-Triggered Hydrogelation via Self-Assembly of Alternating Peptides”, Chem. Commun., 49(42), 4839 – 4841 (2013)
  • Zhang, Yu-Rong; Spinella, Stephen; Xie, Wenchun; Cai, Jiali; Yang, Yixin; Wang, Yu-Zhong; Gross, Richard A. “Polymeric triglyceride analogs prepared by enzyme-catalyzed condensation polymerization” European Polymer Journal, 49(4), 793-803 (2013).
  • Zhu, Jianhui; Cai, Jiali; Xie, Wenchun; Chen, Pin-Hsuan; Gazzano, Massimo; Scandola, Mariastella; Gross, Richard A. “Poly(butylene 2,5-furan dicarboxylate), a Biobased Alternative to PBT: Synthesis, Physical Properties, and Crystal Structure” Macromolecules 46(3), 796-804 (2013).
  • Qin, Xu; Khuong, Anne C.; Yu, Zheng; Du, Wenzhe; Decatur, John; Gross, Richard A. “Simplifying alternating peptide synthesis by protease-catalyzed dipeptide oligomerization” Chemical Communications 49(4), 385-387 (2013).
  • Bhangale, Atul S.; Beers, Kathryn L.; Gross, Richard A.; “Enzyme-catalyzed polymerizations of end-functionalized polymers in a microreactor” Macromolecules 45:7000−7008 (2012).
  • Ganesh, Manoj; Gross, Richard A. Enzymatic biomaterial degradation: Flow conditions & relative humidity, Polymer, 53:3454-3461 (2012).
  • Viswanathan, Kodandaraman; Schofield, Mark H.; Teraoka, Iwao; Gross, Richard A. Surprising metal binding properties of phytochelatin-like peptides prepared by protease-catalysis, Green Chemistry, 14, 1020–1029 (2012).