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Brian Pereira

Postdoctoral Associate – bpereira@mit.edu

B.S. Chemical Engineering – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2003

B.S. Biology – RPI, 2003

Ph.D. Chemical and Biological Engineering – RPI, 2008

Current Research

Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) – MFCs are a new technology by which organic substrates are converted into electric current by microbes.  The simple version is that the microbes take electrons from the organic substrates and pass them to an electrode where they enter the electrical circuit.  This process is part of the microbes’ metabolism, and many details remain unknown.

One source of organic substrates are biopolymers.  Biopolymers are degraded more slowly than simple substrates, thereby providing a good source of electrons for long-term MFC operation.  The most abundant biopolymer is cellulose, and there have been studies conducted on cellulose-based MFCs.  However, these studies have not addressed the metabolic aspects.  The goal of my work is to develop a pure-culture, cellulose-based MFC and analyze the metabolism of the microbe.