Enzo Dinglasan is working on ways to advance biomanufacturing, the harnessing of biological systems that run on renewable feedstocks, like glucose or carbon dioxide, to make everyday products, including small-molecule therapeutics, supplements, food ingredients, fuels, and even plastics. He is pursuing his doctorate in the Genome Science and Technology program.through the University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute’s Bredesen Center.
“By transitioning from traditional chemical manufacturing methods to biomanufacturing, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels like oil,” he said. “This will mitigate climate change through the development of carbon-neutral and carbon-negative processes, and help build national resilience against supply chain disruptions since glucose and carbon dioxide are everywhere and oil isn’t.”
Cell-free biochemical systems could advance biomanufacturing and hasten the transition to a global bioeconomy.
“Cell-free systems are prepared by extracting only the parts of the cell that we need for production, and then implementing these parts outside of the cell,” he said. “These can serve as alternative platforms for biomanufacturing when engineering designs are too difficult to implement in cells. However, cell-free systems still need to be improved before they can be used commercially. My research is focused on developing strategies to engineer these systems so we can reach their production potential and advance their industrial relevance.”
Dinglasan, who is from the Philippines, earned his bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
At UT, he received a 2021 Graduate Advancement, Training, and Education (GATE) award that helped fund an interdisciplinary project which led to the development of a tool that improves the formation of commercially relevant enzymes in a cell-free system. These enzymes, which are hard to produce in cells, have medicinal, agricultural, and cosmetic applications.
Dinglasan is the co-founder and communications officer for Inclusive STEM Majors for Equity and Diversity (iSTEMmed), an organization committed to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at UT.
In his spare time, he enjoys exploring Knoxville and trying different restaurants and breweries.