Chemical Engineering

Constance A. Schall



Laboratory website coming soon

Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Research and Teaching Interests
Current research is focused in the area of separations, particularly crystallization and precipitation processes and biofuels production.

In the area of bioseparations, we are focusing on protein crystallization with application to single crystal growth for structure determination and industrial crystallization for protein purification. In a projected recently funded through the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) “Optimization of Protein Crystal Growth for Determination of Enzyme Mechanisms through Advanced Diffraction Techniques” our lab will focus on growth of neutron diffraction quality protein crystals (with co-I’s Drs. Ronning, Mueser, Hanson & Chen). The overall goal of our investigation is to produce protein crystals large enough and of adequate quality to use neutron diffraction crystallography to locate protons and hydrogen atoms in a 3-D structure. Neutron diffraction can provide key insights into enzyme mechanisms but requires large, defective-free crystals that are difficult, if not impossible, to produce in unit gravity. The need for large crystals makes the International Space Station an ideal environment for testing whether large, diffraction-quality crystals of the target proteins can be grown in microgravity.

In the biofuels area, we are developing a pretreatment method for lignocellulose using the unique solvation properties of ionic liquids. Cellulose, a polymer of glucose, is the most abundant renewable resource in the world. However, its potential as a source of raw materials is limited by the strong hydrogen bonding network in its highly crystalline natural form. Disruption of this structure allows effective chemical modification or hydrolysis of cellulose into its glucose subunits. Ionic liquids (ILs) are non-derivitizing solvents of cellulose that efficiently disrupt its structure without production of fermentation inhibitors. In our process, cellulose is pretreated with an IL forming an easily modified amorphous structure. The amorphous cellulose substrate treated with IL can be enzymatically hydrolyzed into its glucose subunits at rates orders of magnitude greater than untreated cellulose at low enzyme loadings.

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Contact Information
Phone: (419) 530-8097
Mailing address:
The University of Toledo
Department of Chemical Engineering (MS 305)
2801 W. Bancroft St.
Toledo, OH 43606-3390
Physical address:
Office: Nitschke Hall room 3054
1610 N. Westwood Ave.
Toledo, OH 43606-3390

Last Updated: 6/27/22