In 1998, Prof. Gross joined the faculty of NYU-Poly as the Herman F. Mark Professor of Polymer Science. At that time, he established his laboratory for the study of Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing of Macromolecules. Research in the laboratory of Prof. Gross is focused on cell-free and whole-cell biotransformations. Chemists, biochemists, microbiologists, materials scientists, engineers, physicists and clinicians work in teams on projects ranging from enzymatic and chemo-enzymatic routes to monomers, prepolymers, polymers and bioactive molecules. Novel enzyme engineering techniques and methods for enzyme immobilization are used to develop efficient catalysts that function under practical conditions. From these studies our group is developing fundamental new knowledge in enzyme structure-activity relationships for polymer synthesis and degradation reactions as well as an understanding of critical design elements that stabilize and activate enzymes on surfaces and within macroporous resins.

Research Focus: Over the past ten years, Dr. Gross has focused on the following areas.

The laboratory is also investigating novel ways that enzymes can be used to modify polymers. Cutinases are the major enzyme family under study for polymer modification. They are showing extraordinary activity for hydrolysis of rigid surfaces such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Their potential to do various surface chemistries as well as their ability to remove various components from surfaces such as fibers and processed articles is under study.

Our laboratory is working with DNA 2.0, a privately-owned genetic engineering company, to refine and test computational enzyme engineering tools. Altering a polyeptide’s function by changing the sequence allows natural proteins to be converted into useful molecular tools. The goal is to use these methods to redesign enzymes for monomer and polymer enzyme-catalyzed biotransformations.

Polymer families under study:

Surfactant research targets:

Medical research targets: