Nancy W. Ho

Emeritus Research Professor of Chemical Engineering

POTR 1295
Purdue University
Davidson School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 494-7046 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 1971
B.S. Chemical Engineering, National Taiwan University, 1957
M.A. Organic Chemistry, Temple University, 1960
Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Purdue University, 1968

Awards and Honors

2016 National Medal of Technology and Innovation from the President of the United States of America (The highest honor given by the U.S. government for Technology and Innovation)
2007 July 6, 2007, this video was shown on national television in Brazil - viewed by millions in South America.

2007 June 11, 2007, the Wall Street Journal published a special column by Christopher John Farley, "A Tireless Hunt for Energy", on Dr. Ho and her work on developing the ideal recombinant yeast for cellulosic ethanol production.

2007 A letter, dated January 31, from President Bush thanked Dr. Ho for attending his State of the Union Address and thanked her for her commitment to fostering the development of renewable sources of energy. The President said "your hard work and dedication are helping to build a safer more secure future for our Nation".

2007 January 23, 2007, Dr. Ho was invited to attend President Bush's State of the Union Address in honor her work for cellulosic ethanol.

2006 September 2006, Dr. Ho was named by Senator Dick Lugar as an Energy Patriot. Since August 2006, Senator Lugar has nominated an individual who has demonstrated leadership and initiative in taking concrete action to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil as his "Energy Patriot". Dr. Ho was the second person bestowed with this honor.

2006 "Beyond Corn: Ethanol's next generation - Scientists seek cheap, plentiful alternative". The Chicago Tribune published an article by reporter Micheal Oneal on Oct 13, 2006. Dr. Ho's yeast for cellulosic ethanol work was the centerpiece for this article.

2004 "Efficient Recombinant Yeast Yields Ethanol from Straw Residues" by Carol Potera, published in ASM News, vol. 70(10), 2004, as the feature article in the Newsletter's Current Topics. This article reported that Iogen was using the yeast developed by Dr. Ho, Purdue University, for the production of ethanol from wheat straw and that Dr. Ho's yeast was the most effective microorganism for such a purpose.

2004 Since April 2004 , Iogen, a Canadian company, has used the engineered yeast developed by Dr. Ho at Purdue University to produce ethanol from wheat straw in the world's first production plant of its kind. Purdue University issued a news release on June 28, 2004 entitled, "Purdue yeast makes ethanol from agricultural waste more effectively", to mark this special event. Many newspapers and magazines have also reported upon this exciting development.

1999 The genetically engineered Saccharomyces yeasts developed by Dr. Ho were also honored by Discover Magazine as one of 27 of the most important technological innovations of 1999 selected from more than 4000 technological innovations worldwide. Dr. Ho was honored by Discover Magazine as one of the 27 finalists of the Discover Award for that year.

1998 R&D 100 Award from R&D Magazine for her successful development of the genetically engineered Saccharomyces yeast that can effectively co-ferment both glucose and xylose from cellulosic biomass, which has made biomass-to-ethanol technology closer to commercialization. The Chicago Tribune has called this award "The Oscar of Invention." Others have referred to the award as "the Nobel Prize of Applied Research."

Selected Publications

Mosier, N., Hendrickson, R., Ho, N. W. Y., Sedlak, M., and M. R. Ladisch, "Optimization of pH controlled liquid hot water pretreatment of corn stover," Bioresource Technology, 96, 1986-1993, 2005.

Xie, Y., Phelps, D., Lee, C. H., Sedlak, M., Ho, N.W. Y., and L. N. H. Wang, "Comparison of Two Adsorbents for Sugar Recovery from Biomass Hydrolyzate," Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 44: 6816-6823, 2005.

Mosier, N. S., Hendrickson, R., Brewer, M., Ho, N. W. Y., Sedlak, M., Dreschel, R., Welch, G., Dien, B. S., Aden, A., and M. R. Ladisch, "Industrial Scale-up of pH-controlled liquid hot water pretreatment of corn fiber for fuel ethanol production," Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 125, 77-85, 2005.

Sedlak, M. and N. W. Y. Ho, "Characterization of the effectiveness of hexose transporters for transporting xylose during glucose and xylose co-fermentation by a recombinant Saccharomyces yeast," Yeast 21:671-684, 2004.

Sedlak, M. and N. W. Y. Ho, "Production of ethanol from cellulosic biomass hydrolysate using genetically engineered Saccharomyces yeast capable of co-fermenting glucose and xylose," Appl. Biochem. Biotech. 113-116: 403-416, 2004.

Ho, N. W. Y., "The logical design and development of genetically engineered yeast for effective conversion of plant cellulosic biomass to ethanol," Chinese Americans in Science and Technology 85-132, Outer Sky Press, New York, 2003.

Sedlak M, Edenberg H.J. and N. W. Y. Ho, "DNA microarray analysis of the expression of the genes encoding major enzymes in ethanol production during glucose and xylose co-fermentation by metabolically engineered Saccharomyces yeast," Enzyme. Microbial. Technol. 33:19-28, 2003.

D. Sliva, C. Labarrere, V. Slivova, M. Sedlak, F. P. Lloyd Jr., and N. W. Y. Ho, "Ganoderma lucidum suppresses motility of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells," BBRC. 298, 603-612, 2002.

Sedlak, M., and N. W. Y. Ho, "Expression of E. coli araBAD operon encoding enzymes for metabolizing L-arabinose in Saccharomyces cerevisiae," Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 28 , 16-24, 2001.

Ho, N. W. Y., Chen, Z., Brainard, A. P., and M. Sedlak, Chapter 12 in ACS Symposium Series 767, "Genetically engineered Saccharomyces yeasts for conversion of cellulosic biomass to environmentally friendly transportation fuel ethanol," Amer Chem Society, 142-159, 2000.

Ho, N. W. Y., Chen, Z., Brainard, A. P., and M. Sedlak, "Successful design and development of genetically engineered Saccharomyces yeasts for effective cofermentation of glucose and xylose from cellulosic biomass to fuel ethanol," Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology, 65 , 163-192, 1999.

Ho, N. W. Y., Chen, Z., and A. Brainard, "Genetically Engineered Saccharomyces yeast capable of effective cofermentation of glucose and xylose," Appl Environ. Microbiol, 64 , 1852-1859, 1998.

Toon, S. T., Philippidis, G. P., Ho, N. W. Y., Chen, Z., Brainard, A., Lumpkin, R. E., and C. J. Riley, "Enhanced cofermentation of glucose and xylose by recombinant Saccharomyces yeast strains in batch and continuous operating modes," Appl. Biochem. and Biotech., 63-65 , 243-255, 1997.

Moniruzzaman, M., Dien, B. S., Skory, C. D., Chen, Z. D., Hespell, R. B., Ho, N. W. Y., Dale, B. E., and R. J. Bothast, "Fermentation of corn fibre sugars by an engineered xylose utilizing Saccharomyces yeast strain," World Journal of Microbio & Biotechno, 13 , 341, 1997.

Cao, N. J., Krishnan, M. S., Du, J. X., Chen, Z. D., Gong, C. S., Ho, N. W. Y. and G. T. Tsao, "Ethanol production from corn cob pretreated by the ammonia steeping process using genetically engineered yeast," Biotechnology Letters, 18, 1013-1018, 1996.

Ho, N. W. Y., and S. F. Chang, "Cloning of yeast xylulokinase gene by complementation of E. Coli and yeast mutations," Enzyme Microb. Technol., 11 , 417-421, 1989.

Stevis, P. E. and N. W. Y. Ho, "Construction of yeast xylulokinase mutant by recombinant DNA techniques," Appl. Biochem. Biotechnol., 20 (21), 327-334, 1989.

Chang, S. F. and N. W. Y. Ho, "Cloning the yeast xylulokinase gene for the improvement of xylose fermentation," Appl. Biochem. and Biotechnol., 17, 313-318, 1988.

Rosenfeld, S., Stevis, P., Tsao, G. T., and N. W. Y. Ho, "Genetic characterization of the xylose utilization genes of E. coli ," Mol. Gen. Genetics, 410-415, 1984.

Stevis, P. E., Huang, J. J., and N. W. Y. Ho, "Cloning of the Pachysolen tannophilus xylulokinase gene by complementation in Escherichia coli," Appl. Environ. Microbiol., 53(12), 2975-2977, 1987.

Stevis, P. E. and N. W. Y. Ho, "Overproduction of D-Xylose isomerase in E. coli by cloning the D-Xylose isomerase gene," Enzyme Microbial Technology, 7, 592-596, 1985.

Rosenfeld, S., Stevis, P., Tsao, G. T., and N. W. Y. Ho, "Genetic characterization of the xylose utilization genes of E. coli," Mol. Gen. Genetics, 410-415, 1984.

Patents Related to Genetic Engineering of Yeasts for New Industrial Applications

Ho, N. W. Y. and M. Sedlak, "Development of Stable Genetically Engineered Yeast for Industrial Conversion of Sugars from Glucose-Based and Glucose-Xylose- Based Feedstocks to Lactic Acid", patent pending.

Ho, N. W. Y, and Z. D. Chen, "Stable Recombinant Yeasts Capable of Effective Fermentation of Both Glucose and Xylose." Patent Application, #60/016, 865, May 6, 1996. PCT Patent No. WO97/42307, November 13, 1997. This application has been allowed in Australia before March, 2001 but pending everywhere else including US.

Ho, N. W. Y and G. T. Tsao, "Recombinant Yeasts for Effective Fermentation of Glucose and Xylose," PCT Patent No. W095/13362, (1995); the patent was allowed in the US on Aug. 4, 1998, patent No. 5,789,210.