Kopess Biomass Solutions
Dr. Kyung-Hwan Han, a professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Horticulture, has partnered with the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center to unlock the genetic regulators of cellulose biosynthesis in plants.
Han’s startup company, Kopess Biomass Solutions, was formed with assistance from the MSU Innovation Center; the company has optioned his discovery.
The MSU technology developed by Dr. Han provides a genetic means to regulate the biosynthesis of cellulose in plants. Han and his team discovered five direct regulators of the cellulose synthase genes and have demonstrated these regulators activate the expression of cellulose synthases in vitro. The regulators can then be used to genetically up-regulate secondary wall cellulose synthase genes and increase cellulose biosynthesis.
This translates to faster-growing trees and more biomass per acre.
Han holds nearly a dozen patents, and he was awarded a grant from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio, which funds innovations that have the potential to create superior value-added products and materials to businesses in the AgBio industry.