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Riddhi Shah

Bioenergy and Biofuels


Supervising Faculty: Hugh O’Neill and Brian Davison

My inclination towards mathematics and biology made me select an integrative course of biotechnology and chemical engineering as an undergraduate. I developed a keen interest in upstream processing technologies used in development of food and biothereuptic industries. In Grad school I majored in biochemical engineering and the exposure of working in different research laboratories made me thing more closely about the molecules rather than the process involved in developing them at a commercial level. I become very interested in learning about properties and functions that each molecule gets due to arrangement of the atoms. I was a research associate for almost two years at ORNL working on a project related to understanding the structure of plant cell wall polymers in wood and its digestibility by hydrolyzing enzymes. While working on a part of this project I realized that a comprehensive program like PhD would train me better.


My interest is in understanding the structure-function/property relationship of biomolecules and biopolymers. I am a part of a group interested in understanding structural changes in plant cell wall polymers when subjected to pretreatment conditions. I develop model composites polymer system and use scattering to understand the changes that each component would undergo in the presence of the other during pretreatment.


Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from University of California, Irvine

Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology Engineering from VVP Engineering College, India

Awards and Recognitions

  • “Developing semi-synthetic composite materials for investigating cellulose and matrix polymer interactions during pretreatment” was awarded 1st place poster award at the 5th International Symposium on Structural Biology and Diffraction held in Knoxville, TN on August 7th- 10th,2016.


1). B. R. Evans, R. Shah, Chapter Ten - Development of Approaches for Deuterium Incorporation in Plants, In: Zvi Kelman, Editor(s), Methods in Enzymology, Academic Press, 2015, Volume 565, Pages 213-243 

2). H. O’Neill, R. Shah, B. R. Evans, J. He, S. V. Pingali, S.P.S. Chundawat, A. D. Jones, P. Langan, B. H. Davison, V. Urban, Chapter Six - Production of Bacterial Cellulose with Controlled Deuterium–Hydrogen Substitution for Neutron Scattering Studies, In: Zvi Kelman, Editor(s), Methods in Enzymology, Academic Press, 2015, Volume 565, Pages 123-146 

3). B.R.Evans, G.Bali, M.Foston, A. J. Raguaskas, H. M O’Neill, R. Shah, J. McGaughey, D. Reeves, C. S.Rempe, B.Davison Production of deuterated switchgrass by hydrophonic cultivation Planta, July 2015, Vol. 242, Issue 1 pg 215-222  

4). B. R. Evans, G. Bali, D. T. Reeves, H.M. O’Neill, Q Sun, R. Shah, and A. J. Ragauskas Effect of D2O on Growth Properties and Chemical Structure of Annual Ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2014 62 (12), 2595-2604

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