Microbiologist to discuss bacteria for bioenergy on Tuesday, November 9

Caroline Harwood

Caroline Harwood, a distinguished microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin, will discuss microbial production of hydrogen gas as a biofuel in a lecture at UC Santa Cruz on Tuesday, November 9, from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 240, Physical Sciences Building.

Harwood's talk, "Bacteria for Bioenergy: Hydrogen Gas Production," is the third annual Distinguished Seminar presented by the Department of Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology. The event is free and open to the public.

Harwood is the Gerald and Lyn Grinstein Endowed Professor in Microbiology in the School of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she received the 2010 Procter & Gamble Award in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

One of the projects in Harwood's lab focuses on a biological process for hydrogen generation that depends on the environmentally benign use of biomass and solar energy. Hydrogen gas has received serious consideration as an alternative to petroleum because it is a clean-burning energy carrier that can be converted to electricity in hydrogen fuel cells and used to power automobiles or any other electricity-driven process. Part of the appeal of hydrogen is that it can be produced from a wide range of resources, including natural gas, coal, fossil fuels, biomass, and solar energy. Harwood's lab uses anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria to produce hydrogen gas. The researchers are applying a combination of genetic, systems biology, and ecological approaches to investigate how these bacteria are so good at making hydrogen. 

For more information about this lecture, call (831) 459-4719.