Organizing Committee

Romas Kazlauskas, Ph.D.
Romas KazlauskasProfessor
Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics
Biotechnology Institute, University of Minnesota
Bio & Research Interests

Romas Kazlauskas studied chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Ph.D.) and Harvard University (postdoc with George Whitesides). He worked at General Electric Company (1985-88) and McGill University, Montreal, Canada (1988-2003) and is currently a professor in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota. He has been a visiting professor in Germany, Sweden and South Korea. He is an expert in protein engineering of enzymes for biocatalysis and the author of a forthcoming textbook on protein engineering (

 Research Interests

  • Engineering new catalytic activity in enzymes
  • Rational design of enzyme properties
  • Enzyme applications to support sustainability
Shotaro Yamaguchi, Ph.D.
Shotaro YamaguchiCTO, Managing Director of Innovation, Amano Enzyme Inc.
Bio & Research Interests

Shotaro Yamaguchi joined Amano in 1984 after receiving a master’s degree in food engineering from the Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University. Since then, he has been engaged in industrial enzymology, fungal genetic engineering, microbial fermentation, and food and medical enzyme applications. He received Ph.D. degree from Kyoto University on lipase in 1991 and spent three years at the Institute of Food Research (UK) from 1999 to 2001. He discovered a novel protein-modifying enzyme, protein glutaminase.

He received the following awards: Encouragement Award from Brewing Society of Japan (2003) and Technology Award from Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry (2010). He is an active Editor for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Headquarters Officer/Auditor for Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry, and Representative for The Society for Biotechnology, Japan.

Claudia Schmidt-Dannert, Ph.D.
Claudia Schmidt-Dannert HeadshotDirector BioTechnology Institute
Distinguished McKnight Professor
Dept. Biochemistry, Molecular Biology & Biophysics
University of Minnesota
Bio & Research Interests

Dr. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert completed her Ph.D. (1994) in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the National Research Center for Biotechnology in Braunschweig She then moved to the University of Stuttgart and became group leader of the Molecular Biotechnology Group in the Institute of Technical Biochemistry. In 1998, she received a habilitation fellowship from the German Science Foundation for “molecular breeding of pathways” and, with this project, joined Prof. Arnold’s group at Caltech. In 2000, she joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. Current major efforts in her group focus on using synthetic biology approaches for the design of genetically programmable materials for biosynthesis, biocatalysis, and other applications, including the fabrication of living materials.

 Research Interests

  • Protein design and engineering
  • Biocatalysis and biosynthesis
  • Synthetic biology and self-organizing materials
B. Pam Ismail, Ph.D.
B Pam IsmailProfessor and Director
Plant Protein Innovation Center
Dept. of Food Science and Nutrition
University of Minnesota

Dr. Pam Ismail is the Founder and Director of the Plant Protein Innovation Center and is a Professor at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota. Dr. Ismail has over 25 years of experience in Food Chemistry research focused on analytical chemistry, protein chemistry, and chemistry and fate of bioactive food constituents. Her research focuses on structural characterization and enhancement of functionality, safety, bioavailability, and bioactivity of food proteins, following novel processing and analytical approaches. She is the recipient of a “Distinguished Teaching Award” and an “Outstanding Professor Award.”

Satoshi Koikeda (Amano Enzyme Japan)

Satoru Ishihara (Amano Enzyme Japan)

Kazuhiro Furukawa (Amano Enzyme USA)

Kai Kobayashi (Amano Enzyme USA)

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