Maureen McCann

20052023

Research Activity per Year

Overview

Personal Profile

Maureen McCann joined NREL from Purdue University, where she was a Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of Purdue’s NEPTUNE Center for Power and Energy, funded by the Office of Naval Research. Maureen has also served as the Director of the Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Biofuels (C3Bio), an Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science. Within C3Bio, her lab explored synthetic biology and genetic engineering approaches to optimize cell wall and biomass structure for chemical conversion processes. Prior to joining the faculty at Purdue, she was a project leader at the John Innes Centre Norwich in the United Kingdom, a government-funded research institute for plant and microbial sciences, funded by The Royal Society with a University Research Fellowship. She received her undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of East Anglia. Maureen currently serves on DOE’s Biological and Environmental Remediation Advisory Committee and is President of the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Research Interests

Maureen’s research interests include understanding how the molecular machinery of the plant cell wall contributes to cell growth and specialization, and thus to the final stature and form of plants. She aims to elucidate the relationship between genetically defined changes in plant cell wall-related proteins (biosynthetic, hydrolytic, and structural) and cell wall molecular architecture and structural properties and to examine the downstream consequences for cell growth and differentiation. Other interests include:

Using a toolkit of plant genetics and molecular biology to optimize dedicated bioenergy crops by gaining genetic control of the amount, composition, and structure of cell walls for their end-use as feedstocks in production of energy-rich biofuels, chemicals, and materials.

Developing technologies that maximize the energy and carbon efficiencies of biofuel production by the rational and synergistic design of both physical and chemical conversion processes and the biomass itself. 

Professional Experience

Biosciences Center Director, NREL (2020–present)          

Director, NEPTUNE Center for Power and Energy, Purdue University (2015–2020)

Professor, Biological Sciences, Purdue University (2010–2020)

Director, C3Bio (2009–2018)

Assistant Head, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University (2007–2011)

Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University (2003–2010)

Royal Society University Research Fellowship, Department of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia (1995–2003)

Project Leader, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom (1995–2003)

Senior Scientific Officer, Department of Cell Biology, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom (1994–1995)

Higher Scientific Officer, Department of Cell Biology, John Innes Centre, United Kingdom (1990–1994) 

Education/Academic Qualification

Master, Natural Sciences, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

Bachelor, Natural Sciences, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

PhD, Botany, University of East Anglia

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